Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kissimmee: July 10

Thirty years.  For 30 years Dad (aka PopPop) has had two daughters.  One (me) living under his roof and the other (Z) living with her maternal family.  It doesn't take a lot of tough math to realize that my parents have been married for 36 years, and so the very idea that there are two daughters a mere four months apart from different mothers might be pretty hard to swallow.  It always has been for me.

But I'm trying to accept what the extended family has already deemed fact for years - I have a sister out there, and though I am still the oldest child, I am not really the only girl.  There.  I've said it.  Dad has never had a blood test (were they even readily available 30 years ago?) and he doesn't intend to get one.  I suppose that after accepting a child as your own this long they are whether by blood or contract, right?  It's kind of like a common law marriage or something.

Out of reverence to my Mom (aka Oma), I've never pursued an interest in this extra sibling.  I've declined opportunities for meetings.  I've refused to acknowledge that there is an extra name branching out on the family tree attached to my father and a woman (now deceased) that I don't know.  But at some point it's just not fair to my kids to deny them an opportunity for more family to love them.  And so I befriended Z (or maybe she requested me?) on FaceBook and we've maintained distant contact for over two years. 

When my trip to Florida became a real possibility, it posed an interesting opportunity to meet Dad's daughter and her four children.  I forewarned my mother, who gave her blessing to the event.

We chose Saturday - a great day for visiting family and keeping out of public amusement parks that would be ultra crowded.  Dad drove us to Z's cousin's house where she and her kids had arrived the prior evening.  And as we stood at the door to the blue house with light blue trim on the end of a cul de sac, it felt sort of surreal. I was meeting the daughter that Dad has been comparing me to all my life.

Thank God for children, because it is only these newly introduced cousins that could ease the awkwardness of such an introduction.  We went to breakfast with our combined six children.  Over pancakes, French toast and eggs, I became Tia Rachelle and she became Aunt Zoraida. Then we ventured to Downtown Disney to explore (where there seemed no relief for the oh-so-stifling heat).
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We gathered up the half dozen grands and PopPop (aka Dad aka Grandpa) for a memorializing photo.
We let the kids play at LeggoLand. Z found a space inside the store with an air blower for two-month-old Gian, while we eyed the olders (8,7,6,3, almost 2 years), who busied themselves building cars to race.
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We ventured into a themed restaurant called T-Rex, where Ya immediately clutched me tight and hollared "no, no, no."  The animated dinosaurs were too much for little man.
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Later, we enjoyed icees, which in the heat of the day were hard to come by, as every vendor was out of flavors or of frozen treats altogether.  The girls played with their dinosaur figurines (each of Z's chose a pink one without knowing the sisters' selections).
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Their play included an elaborately crafted storyline that I could not follow. And I've no idea how the dog factored into the dinosaur saga.

Dad spent some personal time with his youngest grandchild.
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And then, when we couldn't bear the heat any longer, we ventured back to the cousin's house, where the kids took a dip in the family pool.
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I can't resist sharing this little guy's picture. He was staying with the cousin (who happens to be his grandfather) for the weekend.
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Finally, it was time to head home to the hotel and so I snapped a final few portraits and we left with a cordial, "It was nice to finally meet you."
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Then, dinner from KFC and Taco Bell (yes, ordered way too much food) and bedtime for my kids.
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1 comment:

Taylor said...

Loving all these posts!! I am half planning my trip from your posts LOL!!