A long overdue visit  

Friday, January 2, 2009

This last week has been nothing short of amazing for me. I have been on a high like I have never felt before.
This was the week that Lori and my brothers came to visit. Our first time ever spending more than just a few hours together.

It was something I have wanted for many years, but never seemed to work out for us. Finally, the stars fell in line and she was here. I know many people never think twice about spending the night with thier mothers. It is a normal occurance. One they have done hundreds of times. But to an adoptee....its different. She has been a part of my life for years, but the visits were always brief. A few hours here and there. This time...this time it was all ours.

Every night was stayed up until at least 3am. We simply could not bring ourselves to part ways and go to sleep. We wanted the days to never end. Several nights it was well past 5am before we both gave in and slept.

As great as it was to have her, it shadowed in comparison to the events that unfolded during the week. Some of THE most phenominal things happened.

First we planned one day to head to Detroit to do some surprise visits on other family members. No one knew we were coming, it was literally a drop in and say hi trip.
The first stop was to Lori's mom. My bio grandma. She was not expecting company, she had been feeling under the weather, but was gracious and posed for the mountain of pictures I wanted. It was actually a nice visit.
After an hour or so there, we hit the road again. Next stop....the boys dad. He also was shocked to see us. He rushed to get himself around and we all headed to the local burgar joint for a quick burger. My daughter and I sat at an adjoining table, so they would have some time alone. To catch up.
It made me so happy to see them with him. It had also been a long time for them.

After aproxmately an hour with him, we hit the road again. Last stop...MY FATHER.
We went to the bar that he works at, and of course, he had left for the day. So we did bathroom breaks and were heading out the door when Lori caught a familar face at the far corner of the bar. It was Jim's brother in law. My 'uncle' Greg. We all headed over. He was confused at first, then you could see it set in. He knew me. A smile like the breaking sun settled on his face. I introduced him to his great niece. We all chuckled about that.
He gets right on the phone and calls Jim. He tells him there is a group of people looking for him at the bar. He hands the phone to me. I tell him his favorite daughter was looking for him. ((I am his only child. Its kind of an on going joke with us))
The shock in his voice was evident. "I'M ON MY WAY. BE THERE IN 15 MINUTES. DON'T MOVE!!!"
The wait seemed to take forever. Other people were picking on Greg about having a harem, or flirting. He yells back "hey, I'm talking to my NIECE leave me alone!!"
The man shot him a smirk that read..."sure, pfffttt...niece"

Finally Jim arrived. I introduced him to my brothers, then reached for my daughters hand. "and THIS....is your grand-daughter"
He froze. Pure terror came accross his face. You could almost smell it on his skin. He is a simple man. He has made his life based on him being alone. His life is his work. Now he was not only facing the daughter he hadn't known for 35 years, but he was looking in the eyes of the next generation of his family. Not a niece or nephew...A GRAND-CHILD. It was their first face to face (heck, it was only our second)
After several seconds of paralisis, he grabbed her and hugged her tight to him. Quite a moment for all of us.
He and I wandered off for just a few moments. To catch up. We walked by the man that was harassing Greg, Jim stopped and introduced me. "Mike...this is my daughter"
The man had been grinning ear to ear. He was giddy from the ribbing he had issued to Greg. He never lost his smile-but you could see the total confusion behind his eyes. His wife shook my hand and welcomed me warmly. Poor Mike though....he was speechless. I smiled as broadly as I could and said "see, when Greg said he was talking to his neice, he wasn't lying."

Poor Mike. I wonder how long it took for it to fully sink in what Jim has said.

We had a great time. He promised to visit this summer. I told him I would hold him to that promise. My parents want to meet him. I want to give them that. Its a small thing to ask in my eyes.

As we drove home the mood in the van was explosive. Everyone was on cloud nine. The music was blaring. Everyone was laughing. We couldn't stop giggling. Absolutely on an emotional high, ALL of us. Lori even celebrated with a cigar!!
We get home and hubby and the rest of the kids follow soon after. All of us were hungry, starving in fact. So we started to prepare a very very late dinner.

Then the phone rang.
I answered.
It was my amom.
She wanted us to come over the following day. So they could meet Lori and the boys.

My head was swimming. I can't say for sure that I was even making complete sentences. I stammered and stuttered over myself. Continually asking "are you SURE Mom? Are you ready for this?"
She was adament, she wanted to see them, talk to them. Lori was set to leave the following morning. But a quick phone call home...and she was staying another night. I was estastic.
I think she was petrified.

The next morning came and we scrambled to eat, shower and get around. Then it was on the path to Mom and Dad. Earlier in the week, my sister had come to meet Lori. It was a wonderful visit. They sat and talked, told some stories, were just there together. I didn't even have to start the conversation. They took to one another instantly.
When my sister got home, she had called our parents and (I think) told them she was a pleasant and NORMAL person. This gave them the courage to push for a meeting with them too.

We walked in the door and they were right there waiting for us. I made the necessary introductions, and then Lori took the lead. She simply walked up to them and took their hands. She stated very simply "I just want to touch you"
My parents hugged her. Not a formal, expected hug. A real, warm and welcoming hug. I honestly don't have the words to make any of you understand. Surreal is as close as I can come.
We moved to the couch and looked at some old pics. My dad pointed out all his brothers and sisters, same with Mom's family. Of all things....MY DAD DIDN'T SHUT UP THE WHOLE TIME. He is a very quiet man. Never speaks unless he really has something to say. And he must have had alot to say.

We left with Lori not only getting an extended hug from my Dad, but an open invite to come back. Mom was so gracious, I mouthed the words 'thank you' to her and my eyes began to well up. She shooshed me quietly and told me it was all ok. I deserved this.

Every adoptee dreams of meeting thier biological links. Siblings, parents, whomever. Even if it is a brief, fleeting moment. Everyone has it. I have had the opportunity to not only meet, but develop a solid relationship with mine. Now, I have been given the chance to incorporate my blood relatives with my regular family. It is an amazing mix of emotions. It brings together the most sacred of things for me. Family.

I am the luckiest girl on earth. I thank all my parents. Each and everyone one of them are working their hardest to bring my life together for me. There is literally not another thing I could ever ask for.

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