Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I grew up as an only child, but my dad had a dirty little secret that was never really a secret, just dirty. Before my father was married to my mother, he was married to another woman. He had an affair with his first wife's best friend and out of that tryst came a girl named Sara. The year was 1969.

Sara's mother (by one sided reports) wanted nothing to do with my father and Sara grew up knowing of my dad, but never knowing him. Sara's "Dad" is the man Sara's mother was married to when Sara was born.

I don't know if my dad really ever wanted to be involved, but I think the arrangement was "stay out of our lives and I will never ask for support." It is totally plausible that my dad, being young and stupid, said "OK".

I don't remember NOT knowing about Sara. She was this almost mythical figure to me, this sister I never knew. I wrote countless letters to her that never got sent and I Googled her very common maiden name too many times to count. Over the last several years, I began to reconcile the fact that Sara would probably be someone I would never know. Sara had numerous siblings and probably wouldn't be as excited to have a half sister as I was, and I wasn't sure if she would even want to know me.

Last Christmas, out of the blue, my Dad announced that he had found and contacted Sara. This mythical figure that we hadn't talked about in at least fifteen years, was suddenly very real. There were pictures, a life story and a lot of animosity and uncertainty.

She wasn't sure if she wanted to know my dad and surprise! She didn't know if my dad was really her bio dad. Apparently, there was always a doubt as to who the real father was. She loved the father she grew up with dearly and knew that pressing the issue could potentially hurt him. She wasn't sure if she wanted to proceed.

A lot has happened since then, but I only know the surface stories. My dad was in her area several months ago and they met for dinner and he created a website for her in-home business, but beyond that, I know nothing. I don't know if a DNA test was ever done or if it is being considered. I have been completely left out of this.

You would have to know my father to know why I need to approach the subject with caution. I know why he has suddenly decided to do this; it is because he is in his 60's and he is reviewing his life choices and trying to make things as right as he can. To him, this is all about him and my father is a selfish man who doesn't take kindly to other's treading on his territory.

But, every once in while, I visit that website and I look at her picture and try to decipher if she looks like him and I know that she knows about me and I wonder why I haven't been a part of this. Is it that she doesn't want to know me, is it that they had a test and she isn't my sister, or is it that she is just afraid to contact me as I am of her?

I try to look at this from her point of view and I wonder if she thinks that I am angry that my Dad suddenly has two daughter's? Like she's taking away from me or something?

I know her number, I know her email address, it all sits on that website.

I am so tempted to email her, but I'm afraid of the repercussions. I am afraid she'll ask me to stay out of her life, or that my dad will find out and be angry with me. My Dad has always found a reason to be angry with me, so you would think I would be immune to it by now, but I'm not.

I do have my stepmother, the peacekeeper, the bridge between my father and I to count on. I know she would have no problem giving me advice in this matter, but right now, she's only available by email and will be for a while (she's out of the country) and I know my dad reads her stuff. I suppose I could just wait until she visits next month, sans dad, but I'm at a crossroads right now. One of those rare moments of "just do it-edness" and I feel like if I wait to make a decision, I may never ask.

So, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?


Constance (the first) said...

Oh this is SO INTERESTING! I don't know WHAT I'd do in your shoes! But I THINK my curiosity to know my sister would trump everything else, and I'd end up emailing her.

Gina said...

I think I would fret about it for a good long time, but would eventually end up emailing her. I'm an only child, too and the longing to know her (or at least try) would be too hard to resist.

Anonymous said...

I am in a situation similar to yours, although I am on the other side. I met my dad but not his other children. He talked about them but never really showed an interest in introducing us to each other. I did wonder what they must think about me but I don't know how much our father told them about me.

Constance Free said...

I'd email her! Definitely. Today.

Pann said...

This is really interesting. I have a similar situation - my half sister, raised by her mom and mom's new husband, my dad is her bio father but he's out of the loop (stay away and you don't have to pay).

Hmm.... It is so difficult and confusing emotionally.