CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS (COMe)
I JUST MET YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY—
WILL WE GET ALONG?
The WordPress prompt for August 12, 2015, asked an interesting question: How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?
I must admit I’m old hat at this. I’ve had three reunions. The first occurred in the early 1970s, a combination of my father—whom I hadn’t seen since my parent’s divorce before I was in kindergarten—and my siblings from his second family. The other two occurred in 2011 and 2012 with sisters my mother released for adoption when they were newborns.
Back to the WordPress prompt question. Somehow, I feel the question errs. “Getting along”—or not getting along—with someone usually doesn’t usually occur at a first meeting, although I admit sometimes there can be instant feelings of bonding or dislike. Reunions with family members—siblings and/or parents and other relatives—are fraught with the inability to know what is expected, how to react, and strange feelings. Each comes with its own issues. No instruction manual or how-to books exist to guide one through these reunions.
As for the two sisters my mother released for adoption, we weren’t raised together, nor have I known them for a long period of time—I’ve met each of them twice. Ergo, I cannot answer the WordPress question as phrased as it applies to them.
Therefore, I’ll field this question toward my sister Kitty, my father’s only daughter from his second marriage (he also had four sons). I met her in the early 1970s when she helped arrange for me to visit her hometown and meet our father. She was in her 20s. There was a 10 year age difference.
The weekend was hectic—how else could it not be when my father was surprised by my visit and I was meeting not only him but his second wife and four of their children, and the nieces and nephews? How could anyone predict how they would get along?
Kitty and I, however, correctly suspected there would be a bonding over time. We had planned the reunion by phone and thus already had begun the process. After the reunion we continued to communicate, and today we feel that although we missed the time growing up together, and the distance between our residences prevents much one-on-one contact, we definitely have an instinctual sister bond that kick into place and connect us if we only met…for the first time today. That bond allowed us to cement our sisterhood into the meaningful relationship it’s become.
Kitty and our brother Bob visited Laurel Mountain Borough in September 2005, when the following photos were snapped.
Kitty and I expect there could be more “reunions,” as my father, Navy photographer Robert W. Cornell, allegedly began a third family with three children while he was stationed in Arizona in the mid-1950s. If anyone has any information on this situation please contact me in the comments below.