I would like to tell my readers that meeting my birth family for the first time was bumpy, like my plane when it landed in Love Field in Dallas, Texas for my first reunion.
That would be a lie, though.
In my book, Tenacity, I recount how I stepped out of the small airport in the middle of this field, and waited. I watched cars drive by, until one slowed down, and I knew. I knew it was them. My birth uncle, wheelchair bound, rolled down the front passenger window, and we hugged. His wife and my cousin jumped out, and we embraced. There was this instant zing . . . this connection I can’t describe perfectly in words, but it was there. A genetic bridge was completed. We stayed up that night until almost 5 am. Talking, laughing, and drinking. The rest of the days I was there I got to hear how much I looked like my uncle’s aunt, and how I had the family “walk.”
It was an AMAZING trip.
But there are a few things I would have done differently. I think I would have tried to spend more days with EVERYONE. My aunt and uncle and my cousins. My cousins had to work, though, so it made it tough. I felt like I needed more time to catch up over the past 32 years. I would’ve liked a few more days, but then I wondered, would it be like that song by Diamond Rio, “One More Day?”, where wishing for one more day would be wishing for one more sunset? It would never be enough.
I also don’t think I would have divulged to my uncle the circumstances around his sister’s – my birth mom’s – death. It doesn’t sit right with me how it went down, and it didn’t sit right with her brother. Her brother, whom she stopped talking to after their father’s funeral in 1963. I don’t think my uncle needed to hear how his estranged sister had a lonely life, and an extremely lonely and strange death.
I would have picked a more intimate setting for our reunion. I remember we all went out to this Mexican restaurant. We sat outside. There were 11 people total I think. It was loud and boisterous. The place was one of their favorite places to go, and the food was good, the Margaritas were tasty, and the company was unreal to me. It was loud, though. The table was wide and long and we all had to yell to each other. My cousin was sick with allergies and asthma, so he was under the weather and not his typical happy-go -lucky self. Not having to yell introductions, and shout out where we all were from and what we all did for a living would have been better. Intimacy is the way to the heart.
So . . . there is one last thing I would have done if I could have to make the reunion better. If I had a magic wand. Or a genie granting me one wish. I would have wished for my birth mom to be alive. To be with the rest of the family when I got off that plane and walked to that car. Yeah, I would have wanted to meet her. To look into her soulful eyes and thank her for being selfless and making such a difficult decision in placing me for adoption. My reunion was pretty cool – pretty seamless – I must say. There was definitely something missing, though, and I don’t think I was the only one to feel the slight emptiness. My birth mom may have had her demons, but she was human, and she had love, and she would have closed the family circle.