It was 36 years and 356 and ¼ days in the making. That phrase kept echoing in my head. Yes, it had been that long. For close to 37 years, I had questions. Questions that were either met with vague answers or no answers at all. Questions that were met with avoidance or contempt.
Then there was Facebook; both the bane of my existence and the savior. Bane because I spend too much time looking for meaning amongst meaningless posts. Savior because it led me down a path I had been wondering about for years.
There he sat. A suggested “friend” because we shared one thing in common. We shared a hometown. A face I knew only from one picture. A face so much like my own. I could see the same smile, the same nose, the same eyes. I hesitantly typed a private message. And waited. And waited.
Turns out, there are a lot of people who still don’t get the messenger aspect of Facebook and that’s ok. I understand that. When I’m struggling with my phone, I have to ask my teenager to fix it for me. And to be honest, I’m okay with that. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I was trying to explain to an older family member how google works. Yes, that was a fun hour.
I digress a little. But when I saw the response, my fingers froze on the keyboard. I really wasn’t expecting an answer and so was ill prepared for a response. But, like so many things in my life, I felt it was the right time. So I responded and gave him my cell phone number.
That hour that I spent talking to him I felt like a missing piece of my puzzle had been found. As much as I like to tell stories, I’m terrible at speaking on the phone. I asked if I could meet him and he said yes. Being the planner I am, I jumped in with both feet and asked if it could be in two weeks. After all, what were two weeks compared to almost 37 years? Nothing, it was nothing.
Except it was. It was everything, It was my life time of questions and musings and wonderings. My lifetime.
So there I stood. I didn’t really sleep the night before. I wondered what we would talk about. Would he like me? I have a tattoo and crazy colored hair. Would that effect the way he thought of me? What if I talked too fast or told too many random stories? What was I doing just dropping myself into this mans life after all these years? Was he as scared and nervous as I was?
My hand was shaking so badly I could barely ring the doorbell. Deep breath, Alice, and down the rabbit hole we go.
His wife broke the ice. An amazing woman who is great with children. A sigh of relief as my two boys can be sweet but also be turds. (and yes, they know I call them that) She hugged me and could feel me shaking so suggested I sit down and relax, as if relaxing is really in my vocabulary. I tried and nervously picked at the snack platters they had so generously laid out. What was I doing? Why?
But those 36 years and 356 and ¼ days were well worth it. We shared stories and laughs. Questions were finally answered and I felt as if the final part of me had been answered. It went so much better than I would’ve allowed myself to believe, simply because I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
And in my true story telling fashion, I will close out with one. During one of our many text conversations, he asked me if I had ever had a glow worm toy. If you aren’t a child of the 80’s, you might not know what this is. It was a very popular toy; a stuffed worm with a face that lit up when you hugged it. I did have one and I remembered loving it until it got lost. When I came over, he gave me a small present and called it silly. Inside was a Christmas tree ornament that was a glow worm like the stuffed one I had had as a child. A toy I never had known was from him until he talked about it. It wasn’t silly to me at all; in fact it was probably the most meaningful gift I’ve ever received.
So sometimes, life can just throw a surprise at you. Don’t be afraid to try it out; it might just lead to some lovely adventures you never knew you needed.