From Daddy's Girl to Open Armed Open Hearted Sistah Friend2/28/2013
My sister found me on Facebook and at first I was less than thrilled. Sure, we've all read about how Facebook has been a wonderful to...
My sister found me on Facebook and at first I was less than thrilled. Sure, we've all read about how Facebook has been a wonderful tool for finding long lost loves and reuniting adopted children with mothers... yeah, feel good stories. The kind of stories we all like.
As I said, my story isn't one of those. I was less than thrilled with being found.
Last August, I received a message in my Facebook mailbox from a woman I didn't know. Since I do lots of business on Facebook, I clicked open. The message got right to the point. She thought we might be sisters. She shared a few details her mother had told her about who her father was and ended by asking me to please respond. I stared at her photo and flip flopped between thinking she doesn't look like me at all, back to, well... maybe a little. I tried to see my father in her eyes, the crease of her upper lip or the perkiness of her chin. Her smiling face silently stared back at me, but apparently, I wasn't having it. "Hmph, maybe not!" I thought to myself, as I quickly closed the message. A few moments later I went back, clicked reply and my response was, to say the least, short. I said something along the lines of "Welcome to the family, if you are my sister." Not too friendly was I?
Yes, my papa was a rolling stone and this was not the first time one of my all-grown-up sisters was reaching out to me.
When I received her message I was completely surprised by my feelings. Totally unprepared for the insecurity that swept through my mind, I really felt like responding, "Here we go again."
But she wasn't going to be deterred. She responded right away giving me her mother's name and a few other bits of information in case I was willing to ask him questions. "Questions," I thought, "Why would I have questions. I don't care what he did. That was his life."
Couldn't get much more selfish than that could I?
I responded with a much more terse note letting her know that she wasn't the first half-sister to find me. I was being plain mean for no reason, but deep down I felt like I had a reason and a good one. After all, who were all these girls coming after my daddy? Several years ago I had just gotten him back for myself to re-discover and I was hardly in the mood to share. That was the truth that I couldn't utter out loud. But this one, this new sister, was making me confront these thoughts cloaked in selfishness and competition. Thoughts like "Would he still love me?" and, "Would he have enough time to share with all of us?" Thoughts more suited for a little girl of seven and not a soon to be forty something year old woman.
At first she didn't respond to my silly note. "Good!" I thought, "Hopefully I ran her off." However, things weren't going to be so simple. Throughout that day and the next I couldn't get her out of my mind. I found myself checking facebook to see if she'd actually responded to the poorly masked coarseness in my message because she simply had to meet our father and it didn't matter how mean spirited anyone was, including me.
I guess I was thinking if she could prove that she was tenacious and determined no matter how poorly people treated her that she'd then earn the right for me to create an opening for her. I had the ubiquitous devil and angel on my shoulders. The self righteous side said I needed to keep my father all to myself and the compassionate side asked, "What in the hell did I think I was doing?" Initially I went with the self righteous side but my compassion wasn't to be completely shut out.
I logged in and sent her a friend request. She accepted. I went through all of her photos and met her family "virtually". I saw pictures of her mother, sisters and son. I read that she and her husband had recently celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary, and that's when it hit me. She wasn't my intrusion, she was a person. She was a living being already living a full life and she'd been living it without a man to call father and now in her late thirties she simply wanted to know her roots.
Faster than I could wipe them away, tears slid down my cheeks. I wept because I understood. I recognized the feelings of loss and absence and abandonment that she must have felt for far more years than I. I stared at the smiling face of her only son and I saw my own son when he was that age and without hesitation I sent her another message, a real one with heart, and included my phone number. Thank God she wasn't frightened off by an insecure woman who thought that she didn't want to share the man who created them both, when in truth my real problem was that I didn't want to be reminded of the absence and loss that we both shared.
We talked. We laughed. We stumbled. We shared like sister-friends. I told her I would connect her with her father, and that's what I did. When I told our father that his daughter was looking for him, he wept and said that he'd been looking for her too.
My selfishness and insecurity did not get the best of me. Thank God.
Whether it's figuring out how to connect with newly found siblings or repairing and rebuilding relationships with siblings we've known our entire lives, life's greatest challenges are present to give us the opportunity to put into practice forgiveness, understanding and above all, love.
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Denise J. Hart, known as The Motivated Mindset Coach, is committed to helping women KICK fear to the curb and Rock their Mindset Mojo 24/7! She's the author of the forthcoming book, "Your Daily Mindset Mojo - insightful messages from the heart helping women experience more meaning, fulfillment & joy!” Receive your own free daily Mindset Mojo Messages at http://www.365daysofmindsetmojo.com