Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Importance of Family

My oldest and dearest friend, Rick, recently got the most unexpected news. Rick has never really had a family like the rest of us have. His biological father left his mother when she was pregnant with him and he has never met him (they now live in the same city and Rick knows where he lives, but has no interest in seeing him. I can’t blame him.) and his mother died when he was only 4. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, who he grew up calling mom and dad. His grandma/mom died when he was around 11 or 12 and his grandfather was in poor health. He went to live with an aunt and moved to the town I lived in. We met in high school and became close friends and eventually he ended up coming to live with my family. So when I say that Rick is like a brother to me, it means a bit more than that we are just close. From that extremely dysfunctional background, somehow he emerged as an incredible person. He’s a guy who would literally give you the shirt off his back and he has two beautiful children. All of that is background so you understand the importance of what happened…

A few weeks ago, Rick sent me an e-mail at about 5 am in the morning, which I got the next day of course. He had been up until 5 in the morning because he had been talking to his sister. His real sister. It turns out that his mother had a baby girl when Rick was 2 years old, but put her up for adoption. That was 35 years ago and Rick never knew he had a sister out there somewhere. Like so many people who were adopted out, his sister wanted to find out about her birth parents and she went so far as to hire a private investigator to find her. The PI didn’t find her mother, obviously, but did find Rick. When Rick sent me that e-mail, it was after spending nearly 12 hours on the phone with the sister he never knew he had, who lives in Georgia. Rick and his family had a vacation planned at Disney World for 10 days in the middle of February, so they took a couple days out of that and drove up to meet her and her family.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy he is, or how happy I am for him. I come from a huge and strange family and I probably take that for granted a bit. But for Rick, who never had a “real” family, this discovery has filled a huge hole in his life. To talk to him on the phone and hear his voice crack when he told me that she was already calling him “big brother” is to come face to face with the true importance of family in our lives.