In March of 2014, my parents sat on the tube making their way from their hotel in London to my Grandmother’s flat in Essex. Neither of them wanted to convey their nervousness to each other. My mom jokingly said to my dad, “wouldn’t it be cute if someone was there waiting for us at the station?” Well, as they exited the station, they were greeted by a man waving his arms yelling “Christopher!” Nora, one of my dad’s half sisters, had sent her husband to bring my parents from the train to ‘Nana’s’ house.
When they arrived at the flat, things were a bit awkward at first. But after sitting down and chatting with his brother Nick, my dad told my mom he felt like he had known him his whole life, they just clicked. When the immediate family had all arrived, my dad was asked to share his side of the story. Once he had finished, there was not a dry eye in the room. They went on to spend most of the day comparing upbringings, life stories and memories in order to get to know each other.
The rest of the trip was filled with celebration, an impromptu family reunion was held at Aunt Kath’s house, according to my dad, the pints were flowing freely and everyone was filled with joy. The initial uneasy feeling and question of “how will this play out?” had totally left everyone’s minds.
One of the first things ‘Nana’ had said to my parents upon their arrival was, “I’m sorry I’ve been sucha bitch to ya!” in her Irish brogue, apologizing for the nearly 10 years she knew my dad was hoping to connect with her, but she was too afraid to tell her family. This was not easier for my dad or for his mom. In a more private moment, she pulled my dad aside to confide in him that there was never a day that passed where he was not on her mind. For my dad, hearing this really made him feel that his search and years of waiting was well worth.
Since this trip, my dad has been back for another visit and he speaks to his mom on the phone three times a week.