Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Have Another Sister!

I love roller coasters. I check and recheck the safety strap and shoulder harness as the car gets pulled higher and higher, moving slowly up to the top of the coaster mountain. Every once in a while the wheels on the under carriage catch and the car lurches slightly. Then you realize…what goes up, must come down! Aaaaahhhhh!

I’ve written about some of the deep dives and scary turns, but on this Wild Ride Wednesday I’ll tell about a surprising high in my life—a mountaintop high.

My phone rang. It was my dad’s voice on the other end of the line. I didn’t hear from my father very often – maybe a couple times a month – and a phone call usually meant he had something on his mind.

“I’d like you to come over to see me. Can you stop by the store some time tomorrow?”


My dad was a checker at the Safeway grocery store. He’d had that job for as far back as I could remember.

I walked up to the front door of the large market and the automatic double doors slid open. Dad was working the middle lane and was ringing up a costumer’s order when I walked up to the end of the counter. Dad gave the woman her change and told her to have a great day. He looked at me.

“You have another sister.”

My parents had been divorced for about 22 years, and Dad had had a girlfriend or two in the ensuing years. The fact that he might have fathered another child didn’t surprise me. I was, however, surprised by her age.

“How old is she?” I felt a wave of curiosity wash over me like a warm shower.

“She’s nine.”

Nine years old? Was he kidding? My oldest son was nine!

Later that afternoon I went to Dad’s house. He went to his closet and brought out a shoebox filled with neatly folded letters, holiday cards, and lots of photographs. He took out a picture and put it in my hand. The smiling little girl was my sister!

I immediately fell in the love with the blue-eyed girl with long dark blond curls. My mommy heart and my sister love came spilling out. She looked just like my kids and my siblings. She could have walked in the door at that moment and I would have known she was family. Her mom and dad had done a fabulous job of keeping my dad in the loop as his little girl grew over the years.

Megan always knew she was adopted and now that she was 9 ½ years old she was asking questions about her biological family. The adoption agency had contacted Dad and asked him for more info. He asked me to write a letter.

I wrote to Megan’s mom and told her all about the family. From my dad’s branch of the family tree, Megan had three older sisters and an older brother. She also had nieces and nephews that were just about the same age as her. It turned out, in fact, that Megan and my son Dallas had been due the same week in late 1984. Megan was born a few weeks earlier than she was expected, and therefore she was three weeks older than her oldest nephew.

Before long I was getting to know my sister’s adoptive mom over a lovely lunch at the Peppermill Restaurant in Fresno. On a beautiful summer day in 1994 Tina, Sheila, Robby, and I met our baby sister. We’ve had the privilege of being a part of her life ever since.

Each morning we wake up thinking it’s just going to be another day, but we never know what surprise might be around the next sharp turn of the wild ride that is life.

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