Friday, June 27, 2008

Family Connections


I called my Nana today. I haven't spoken to her in about 34 years, not since I was about 5 years old. It was amazing! She lives in Maine and has the most wonderful voice, young-sounding (she's 86) and with a charming accent.

My parents divorced when I was two and each used me against the other until I was about 7 when my mom remarried (for the 4th time) and we travelled extensively as he was in the military, including overseas. My mom deliberately did not tell my biological father where I was and due to real events and things my mom, father and other family members said and did, I didn't want a relationship with my father. But through it all, I always loved my Nana and remembered her fondly.

We've been writing for years and she's very excited about my adoption. She adopted her youngest child as a newborn and she has three other grandchildren that are adopted, one domestically who is my half-sibling (adopted by my father and his wife) and two cousins adopted from Russia. Some of my cousins have also adopted, I think all domestically.

I've been wanting to talk to my nana for some time and even go visit her. I've felt a normal sense of trepidation, a lot of old feelings, good and bad, lie just beneath my surface, mostly concerning my father, not her. Today I simply picked up the phone and gave her a call.

I asked, "Is Ms. *** home, please?"
She answered, "This is she."
I said, "This is K*** in California."
She said, "Oh my, I can't believe I'm talking to you!"

The excitement in her voice was so warming to hear. She was truly amazed at the things I remembered, especially the layout of her house, which I picture perfectly, though I must have been only 5 or 6 years old the last time I was there. Being so traumatic, I remember many things I wish I didn't, like when my father failed to return me to my mom after a weekend visit and promises he made and broke in very hurtful and psychologically abusive ways, but I have good memories, too, and with the adoption of Apple pending, I feel a need to strengthen all family ties. There are other reasons for wanting to strengthen these ties, private things concerning my mom, too. Also, a spiritual need.

I know that some very strong traits I have came from my nana including my love for dolls and nature (deep beliefs in natural birth and the natural cycle of life and death), my love for children and adoption. Something I learned today was that my nana has sensitive skin, which I also have, and that my father has extrememe sensitivity to frangrances, which I also have, to where we can even taste them in the air.

I wonder how different my life would have been if this side of my family had been able to be involved in my upbringing. I think I'd have turned out a lot better and reached my potential more fully. I think I'd have been more accepted for who I am and my interests respected and encouraged more because of so many commonalities.

At least now I've taken the first big step to uniting myself to the family I belong to. I am excited to find out where it will lead, despite being a little afraid of the unknown. The hurt little girl is still inside me and I wonder if this will help her heal and catch up to the rest of me or hurt her worse.

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