Friday, May 1, 2009

So... I Have a (half) Sister

Last weekend, my brother Nate and I were summoned to Richmond where my Mom lives.  She did not tell us why she needed to talk to us in person and at first we feared the worst.  Mom assured us that this had nothing to do with her health and was not an urgent matter.  So I took the trip down I-95 without the usual car cargo of Lori and the boys.

What my Mom wanted to share with Nate and I was a very surprising piece of news.  She told us that she had fallen in love with one of her co-workers at IBM back in 1968 before she met my Dad.  She got pregnant at the time and ended up having the baby and giving it up for adoption right away.  In the 60's her parents weren't as open as most families are now and adoption was really the only plan of action for my Mom.  Her co-worker was shocked about the pregnancy and they stopped dating.  My Mom had only told a select few people about this news.  She eventually told my Dad when they started dating.  

Over the past 41 years, my Mom had kept this a secret and Nate and I knew nothing about it.  Just a few weeks ago, my Mom was contacted by a social worker who was trying to track down the birth parents of a woman living in Spain who had moved there over 5 years ago.  My Mom ended up re-connecting with her daughter, Mary O'Connor who has lived a very successful life with loving adopted parents and is now married and works as a Wine Director for a Madrid wine company (Planeta Vino).  As soon as all of this was revealed to Nate and I, I immediately had a few rapid-fire thoughts:
  • I instantly realized that I am not my Mother's first-born.  This does not really affect me at all as I was her oldest child growing up my whole life, but "technically" I am actually a middle child.
  • I thought immediately about my current family where we are about to have a little girl. I had originally thought that having two boys would be a nice fit for me since Nate and I were only siblings to each other.  With the notion that I have a half-sister, my new family slightly resembles my new sibling situation.
  • I sort of felt a bit like Luke Skywalker.  In Return of the Jedi, Luke finds out late in life that he actually has a sister he never knew about.  The difference being that he had spent a lot of time with her over the years and actually kissed her (nasty).
  • I wish my Mom would have told me sooner.  My brother and I are very open people and have been through the divorce of our parents when I was a teenager.  I feel that we have been well equipped to handle such news for a while.  I feel that Mom could have told us about this earlier and perhaps if Mary did not seek out my Mom we may never have known about this.
  • I wanted to see a picture of Mary.  Mary had sent pictures in her communications with my Mom over email and she shared some with me.  I can totally see the resemblance to my Mother in the pics.  You can take a look for yourself on her website.  Here's one of my Mom for reference too.
My Mom has told us that she plans on communicating with Mary going forward.  From what she tells me, Mary inherited the Lynn Rose-Hall chatty gene and likes to converse as much as my Mom does.  Right now I don't feel like I have much in common with my half-sister as I just found out she existed a week ago.  I do like wine (my Dad is a big wine connoisseur and may find Mary's profession of-interest) and have always wanted to travel to Spain so that side of Mary's life is intriguing to me.  If my Mom continues to develop a relationship with Mary I will be glad to meet her if she comes to visit in Richmond.  In reality though, my brother and I are still the only children of Bob and Lynn and our life-long bond really defines us as siblings.  I'm glad that Mom and Mary were able to connect though especially since Mary has been wondering most of her life who her birth Mother is. 

I spent some time deciding on whether or not to post this bit of news on my blog.  I do feel like I have been pretty open so far in posting major events in my life (get ready for a new baby post in a week or two).  It is without a doubt the most news-worthy post thus far and I felt I had to post it as it is such a significant (and surprising) event in my life.  I got my Mom's approval before writing this and I don't feel that any of the involved parties are at all in the wrong here.  I'm glad my Mom decided to tell us and I believe it must be a big relief for her to be able to share the news.  I love you Mom and I'm glad you were able to make this connection with Mary.

PS:  The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and as I called Big Brown's win last year, I have my horse for 2009.  Put all your money on Pioneerof the Nile.

4 comments:

Bob said...

Wow! I'm so glad this is finally out.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Wow. That's a lot to process, I'm sure. You seem to be handling it with grace and good humor - something I'm sure your mom appreciates.

Stacey said...

This has to be kind of a surreal experience for you and your brother. I agree with Kristin that you seem to be handling it very well. I think more family is a good thing! I hope you and your family get a chance to meet in person and you can enjoy some perks of her job :-)

Best of luck to you and Lori on the impending arrival of your daughter!

Preston said...

Oh my, this now means that I'm the 4th oldest cousin on my Mom's side when I always thought I was the 3rd! I'm glad you shared this with everyone and how cool is it to be a wine director in Madrid!