Here's to 2018...
So much good happened last year in 2017, that I’m really looking forward to 2018.
The past decade can be characterized by one huge, deep sigh. It was one of care-giving and loss. Losing both of my parents and both of my in-laws, in-between losing (selling) our beloved home of twenty-five years, and both children coming into adulthood, with Mike and I becoming empty nesters. But life is cyclical, and last year we had an upswing, which brought much joy into our lives that hadn’t been given in a long time.
Last year, we finally landed and bought a home again. A home I love, a home we love. Sometimes I stop on the stairs, stand and just stare at my surroundings, so grateful to be here, with my favorite things finally out of cardboard boxes, feeling settled and safe, not wondering anymore where our next move will take us, or when. I’m not one for moving around a lot. I did enough of that in my childhood with my Navy officer father. I like living and staying in one place these days.
One month after moving into our new home, our twin granddaughters were born. Born on their Daddy’s birthday. What gifts they are. My daughter had a tough pregnancy, but she was brave and strong. They arrived five weeks early; healthy and beautiful. Words cannot express how much love I felt seeing my granddaughters for the first time. The memory of those tiny, sweet little faces...I still can't get enough of them. As I write this today, they are just seven months old. I feel joy being around them, pure unconditional love and such, deep, soul-fulfilling joy.
In late summer, I was finally convinced to do DNA testing. What the heck? I really didn’t know my paternal side’s ethnicity. I figured at least I could find that out and maybe if I got lucky I could possibly find my father, if he were still alive. So, I spit in the cup and sent in my test to Ancestry and waited. I found out the results while visiting a childhood friend. I couldn’t believe the results at first. It was surreal seeing truth as to what my ethnicity really was. It was different than expected, and then it wasn’t. I was surprised to be more German than anything else because I didn't even know I was German! I was also more Scottish, Irish and Welsh than I thought. I found two second cousins on my father’s side. That’s very close. I had lots of third cousins too, but I concentrated on those two second cousins because, well, they were second cousins.
Two months of intense, obsessive work passed, trying to figure out centimorgans and relationships. Right when I was ready to just forget it, put everything away and take a break for a while, I checked GEDmatch one night, and unexpectedly found a paternal uncle and first cousin. Bingo. I had been praying for a breakthrough and The Divine came through with answers I desired deep from within my heart; He/She didn't let me down. I had found my father’s family.
Sadly, my birth father is not alive. He hasn’t been with us for twenty-five years, but my cousin has kindly given me photos of him as a young man and as an older man. They are priceless. I cannot thank her enough. She’s given me family history and stories about my father that I never thought possible. They are seared into my mind. He certainly lived a life, not such a good one, but an interesting one, and for some reason, I’m drawn to him. Maybe it’s because my birth mother always told me I resembled him more than her, and that I had his personality. I know I inherited his creative side. I guess, even though he lived a life I can’t relate to, his essence is what makes me curious about him and wish I could’ve met him. I love him, in only a way someone can, with someone you’ve never met before. It’s a strange thing to mourn someone you never knew.
All this to say, that finding my birth father and paternal side of my family (who all have been open arms and wonderful), and having my sweet granddaughters here, was the icing on the cake to 2017. What started out as a year in sadness after losing our last parent right before Christmas in 2016, turned out to be a beautiful year. This is life; bittersweet sometimes, and sometimes The Divine grants us our deepest held desires. Why we get some and not others is a mystery, but I'm grateful for it all. Here’s to 2018…