Last weekend I flew down to Arizona to visit Donald for a few days before he deploys. I flew in to Tucson at around 6pm-ish, at which point we immediately hopped in the car and made the long drive up to Gilbert. What's in Gilbert, you ask? Well, my Dad, Brother, and insanely cool Step-mother reside there.
Woah, woah... what? Katrina has a Dad??? I mean, basic human biology obviously requires some sort of paternal parentage, but most people never knew the guy existed (due to no fault of his own. The poor guy didn't find out about me until just before my 14th birthday).
Well, I do. His name is Sean, and he looks like me.
I first met him when I was 14, and he seemed like a cool enough guy. If nothing else, he was a fantastic sport about my existence. I mena, not many people would just... well, accept the fact that they suddenly have a teenage daughter.
His dad, my Grandpa-Jerry, was a very special person to me. We emailed almost daily after he found out about me, and I'm sure he'd still be a huge part in my life if he hadn't passed away a few short months after we met.
The shock and chaos of his sudden death essentially dissolved the ties I had with his side of the family.
10 years went by. We exchanged Birthday and Christmas cards for a few years, sent pictures here and there, but nothing too significant. Both of our lives were already on different paths, and I don't think either side ever expected anything beyond what we each were giving.
And then we met up last Thursday night.
We hung out, ate good food, played pool, reminisced about what could have been, and had a much better time than I imagined we would. Honestly, I hadn't expected anything more than an awkward and quiet dinner. It definitely turned out a lot better than planned.
I guess we know now where I get those small, deep-set eyes from!
He showed me some pictures of his side of the family, which was a first for me. Having not taking after my mom's side of the family for... well, much of ANYTHING, it was humbling to look into the photographed eyes of people who LOOKED LIKE ME.
I don't look dramatically different from the family I was raised with. I mean, we're all white. We blend. But still. Thanks to my Grandma, everyone on my mom's side was blessed with dainty and feminine features, paired with huge blue eyes.
I have neither. I do, however, have just about everything my dad's side is known for.
If nothing else, this experience gave me a small sliver of understanding and a tiny glimpse into the lives of my future children.
For the longest time I've tried to tell myself that when Donald and I start our family through adoption, nothing from their past would be of significance. I'll be their mother - their entire world - and genetics wouldn't count for a thing. They'd be raised in such love that their biological parents wouldn't matter at all, and it would be as if I had carried them for 9 months myself. I'd be their ONLY mother, they'd never ask questions, and I WOULDN'T HAVE TO SHARE THEM.
Yes to all the parts about love, being their real mom, and all that other mushy stuff.
Not so much on the part about not having to share
I don't even have my kids yet, but I'm already so attached to the idea of them being completely mine. It's a reasonable expectation, and how God intends things to be, in the ideal setting. But lucky for me, and for my future children, our situations aren't ideal in the traditional sense. Sometimes life's unexpected bumps require that our standards change a bit. And so they are.
Though I know that my kids WILL be mine (at some point, eventually, when the time is right), I'll have to always remember that a small part of their hearts will always be with their first parents, and that's okay. I wasn't raised by my dad. He's a fantastic guy and I love him, but he's not my "daddy". There's something to be said for biology. It's a powerful thing. I knew nothing about my father's side of the family until middle school, yet a day will never go by that I don't think about them, and I wish that I could have known them better.
After looking into the eyes of those pictures last week, I think I'll have a better idea of where my kids are coming from when they start showing interest in their biological family.