"Everyone will know about you after the wedding on Sunday!"
My birth cousin got married the weekend after Mom, Aunt Kathy, and I met. I asked Mom to keep the attention on the beautiful wedding and not announce our reunion until after the ceremony. The family flew in from all over the country for the wedding, so everyone gathered in Aunt J's room Sunday night for one last visit. Mom likes to say that the Irish family is so big that they "bring the party" wherever they go! Out of the chatter, Mom raised her voice to get everyone's attention. Nervously, she fiddled with her hair and shirt as she said, "I have an announcement. I had little girl when I was 22. And she found me." The relatives gasped! Mom went on to tell them about me and her new-found grandchildren, saying that Conner's red hair and freckles could earn him a cover photo on an Irish magazine. According to mom, after seeing my picture the Auntie's exclaimed, "She's got my smile!" They were so happy for us and- get this- for them! Being so focused on Mom, I didn't fully consider the relative's reaction. I was joyously taken aback by the love that started pouring in!
The week after the wedding, each Aunt sent me an emotional Welcome to the Family letter/email. I couldn't believe it! I really did not expect such an amazing outpouring of love and support. With a tear-streaked face fixed in a perma-grin, I danced on air all week! Who would of thought? Everyone warned me about how wrong things could go with a reunion. No one warned me that things could go so right! Suddenly, I was enveloped in a gigantic, tightly-woven, Irish Catholic family, who saw my reentry as nothing short of a miracle! The Clan folded me right back in. Below are a few sentiments:
"We, in your large, extended McGuire family are so excited to know that you are one of us!! As the news is spreading, more & more interest and joy is generated."
"Kelly, please know we feel blessed to have you and your family in our lives. We are forever grateful that you were adopted by a wonderful family and can never thank them enough for giving you a happy life. I pray that your mother and father are at peace with you seeking out your birth mother and family. We know we can never replace them in your life. Will you please give your parents our love and gratitude and assure them we hope only to enrich our lives through the union of our families. I am hearing plans for a family reunion this summer in Illinois and hope your parents will also come to meet us and celebrate the miracle that is you."
To think that I could have missed out on all of this love had I listened to the naysayers and caved into fear. Now we were together and had much catching up to do!