- Shelby was blessed.
- I met family members for the first time.
- I hung out with my sister and one of her partners.
- Of course, we entered a new year.
Meeting Mocha and the fam was somewhat surreal. I was both nervous and excited to meet them in person. My father is the youngest of five children - he has three brothers and a sister. I never knew him. One of his brothers was my GP when I lived in Toronto. The other siblings I didn't know either. Everything so worked out that the two unknown brothers and their wives and some of their children would be in my neck of the woods for New Year's. So I invited all of them to Shelby's blessing. Saturday morning, sitting in church on the balcony, I was watching and waiting for them to arrive. I left to change Shelby's diaper and when I came back I noticed the pews were no longer empty. The first person I saw was my cousin MusicMan who I recognized from the pictures. Next was Mocha's dad, and beside him was his brother, MusicMan's dad. They all greeted me with hugs and kisses and I continued to my seat which was in front of them and to their right. Service had just started so I couldn't stop to talk. As I sat I looked over my left shoulder at the men I had just passed and glimpsed another familiar face just behind them. It was Mocha smiling at me and I couldn't help but smile back. Her mother and MusicMan's stepmom were sitting with her and they smiled 'hi' at me too. I turned back around and all I could think was They're really here. They're right behind me. If I turn around they'll still be there. And, of course, not wanting to stare, I surreptitiously stole sidelong glances until it was time to go down to the front. I got up to leave and motioned for everyone to follow. Once in the foyer we waited for the person praying to finish. We didn't move too much or talk more than necessary, we just waited. At the appointed time I led they way to the front, Shelby was blessed then we filed back out. Once back in the foyer out came the cameras and the hugs and talking started. My mother was trying to tell me that we had time for everything later and that we should go to finish preparing for lunch, but she didn't understand. She didn't understand that I had been waiting all morning, actually for months, to get my hands on my cousins. I'm sure it sounds strange but I just wanted to hold them. I was so happy that they found me, that they wanted to find me. I didn't want to wait another minute to relieve some of that nervous/anxious energy by going from person to person claiming my hugs and soaking in their smiles. We eventually left and had lunch together and with a few of my friends who also attended the blessing. Many times throughout the day I was almost overcome with emotion at the whole thing, thinking about how things have been and the progression of events that led to our meeting all together how we did. MusicMan lives in Japan so he was reuniting with his father and Mocha. Mocha and her parents were meeting MusicMan's stepmom for the first time. And I was meeting everyone for the first time (well, Mocha's dad said the last time he and his wife saw me I was four or five years old).
The next day, Sunday, we didn't talk but you can be sure that first thing Monday morning I was making phone calls to find out what the plans for the day were. I got to Mocha's hotel by noon and all seven of us spent the day at a large mall browsing from store to store. The day reluctantly ended at 10:30 that night after lots of laughter and more food. We got to scratch the surface of getting to know each other and from what I've seen I want to know more. I can't wait for more opportunities to learn even more about them. We have at least 25 years to catch up on! I wish I had met my cousins earlier. Tomorrow MusicMan leaves to go back to Japan so I'll be making a trip to deliver some tamarind balls to him before he goes.
And speaking of family, I've spent more time with my sister over the past four days than over the past few years. She came down with one of her business partners, Ms Ashley, for the blessing and for work. Sunday they invited me to their first photo shoot and we ended spending the rest of the day together. I got to know Ms Ashley a little and decided that I like her a lot. She is a sweet person with a great attitude. Tuesday they came over and stayed for dinner. I stuffed Ms Ashley with lasagna and cake and ice cream. :) Hey, she said she like it. We sat around and talked some more but they had things they had to do before leaving the next day so we said our goodbyes. We'll be talking again soon I hope.
Spending time with the family and special friends was the best way to start the new year. I couldn't have asked for a better beginning.
There were a few good times had last year (having Shelby and meeting the fam), but I'm still glad to see 2006 go. Happy New Year, Everyone!