Twelve years ago, my life got turned on its head.
I was behind at work and trying to finish up a bunch of stuff so that I could meet the Princess Mom for a Caribbean cruise over the Christmas holidays the next day. Only I can turn simple tasks into a comedy of errors. My daughter, the child I had given up for adoption when I was barely 21 and had never seen for fear I'd be searching baby carriages for years looking for her sweet face, had reached out to me. It was after 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, I was alone at the office, and I had to get on a plane at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.
Any reasonable person would have said, "It's been 26 years. I can wait ten days. I'll deal with this when I get back."
But at that moment, there was nothing about me that felt reasonable.
And there was NO FUCKING WAY that I could wait another moment. Thank Sweet Baby Jeebus, the Sunny Ridge Lady was up and on top of her email game. As it turned out, that letter had been sitting in my file for SIX MONTHS before anyone made any effort to track me down. Excuse my potty mouth, but FML. Seriously.
Anyway, I couldn't reach the Princess Mom, because she had already left home and was staying in a hotel in Fort Lauderdale in order to meet the ship the next day. I had no idea of which hotel, because she hadn't given me that information. So... I printed off a copy of her letter and color copies of pictures of my beautiful girl on her wedding day, and stuffed them into my suitcase before I got on the plane.
I reached the ship and checked in before the Princess Mom did, so I dug out the letter and the photos and I left them on the Princess Mom's pillow. And then I waited, and waited, and waited for her to arrive.
Let's just say we had a tearful hour or two. And a lot of hugs. (And one brief (see what I did there) moment of insanity.)
As it turned out, being on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean was the right place to be, because they had an internet cafe. Daily emails gave us both the time and distance necessary to slowly share stories and information.
I got back shortly before Christmas, and made arrangements to meet my beautiful girl. We met at a local coffee shop, just the two of us. We both showed up with flowers in hand and hearts in throats. It was unmistakable that we shared genes. Speechless, we hugged and tears flowed for what seemed like hours, but was in reality at least a good ten minutes. And we talked for hours.
What started as her search for family health information transformed into an unshakable, unbreakable connection, and my best Christmas ever.
Years of fears and doubt were erased in seconds.
That was the beginning of a whole new set of adventures, for which I will be forever thankful.
(And click those links above to get the whole story, would you?)