Families. What balls of secrets so tightly wound we are. Time has a tendency to loosen these secrets, no matter how angry or disgusted they might make you feel.
It’s about an hour before T-giving dinner and most of my family (cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) are congregated on the autumn-hued, idyllic front porch of my uncle’s Bed and Breakfast in Kinmount. In a lull of the conversation, my religious, neo-conservative aunt throws down a photograph on the table. In it, my cousin is smiling, her head touching the head of a young kid.
“She found him. On Facebook,” She says, matter of fact.
“Oh?” I say, taking up the picture. Not getting it. Both are smiling ear to ear. Are they in love?
“She searched him and found him, sent him a message and he replied back saying he had known of her for some time but didn’t know how to start talking to her.”
I’m even more confused. Was this her new husband? The kid looks half her age. I didn’t recall any break up email or super-poke from her on Facebook letting me know that she was newly single. I’m piecing together a puzzle with boxing gloves on.
My other cousin from a different aunt says, “No! That’s amazing!” and takes the picture from me.
“Muh. Yes. Wow!” I say, utterly faking the moment. After the aunt making blithe comments about these two meeting up, the photo goes back into her purse. Pause. The conversation shifts.
Later, much, I approach Dad with this odd exchange. Apparently this cousin had a child in her teens (un-wed) and gave him up for adoption and had recently reunited with him via the internet. There’s way more to the story that I will not recount for respect out of all those involved but when I got all the “details” it was similar to sitting through a soap opera recount episode while someone punched at my liberal sensitivities. I had heard nothing of this, having been living in England around the time it happened.
And now I understand my neo-conservative wing of my family better. Approve? No. Just understand.