How I Went from Only Child to the Oldest of 11 Siblings (Thanks to a DNA Test)
When I was a little girl, I would often sit on my parent’s bright blue, pleather couch and draw photos of stick figures while creating stories in my head about each of the characters. One of the characters I recurrently spent time sketching was Robin. She was an imaginary friend and “sister” to me. Robin had gorgeous straight hair and I had frizzy curls. Robin could do gymnastics well and I struggled mightily to accomplish back handsprings and more complicated combinations. Robin and I were sisters and we shared secrets. She was older and I admired her. Robin and I wished for baby siblings and our dreams always came true in my picture stories. I liked having Robin as a sister because she was a confidante.
Even though I most appreciate quiet and solitude, I always wished for a younger sister or brother. Like most kids, I wanted someone to play with and I wanted someone else for my parents to focus on. But, that dream was never actualized, so I kept drawing Robin stories and I collected a lot of dolls. They were my sisters.
Flash forward to today. My wife and I are both only children. As we considered adding a second child to our family, I was hesitant. At 43, my energy for handling late-night baby feedings and early morning breakfast kid alarm wake-up calls was waning. I also felt as though our son - at age 6 - was finally growing in independence. I was lovingly convinced to accept the journey for a second child as a result of our son’s heart-bursting desire for a sibling and my wife’s encouragement of how important siblings can be to each other in a family and throughout life. My son was right. And, my wife was right. The sibling connection between our son and daughter is inexplicable yet incredibly powerful. Their love and connection form the sweetest and strongest bond I have witnessed in my life.
Through their connection at the heartstrings, my son and daughter inspired me to search for my biological family. In having accidentally been linked to my blood relatives via a DNA kit that I completed to discover details about my racial identity only, I suddenly had the chance for my own discovery of siblings. So I took the chance. That links to a whole miracle story that I will write about in the future on DNA+LOVE...but for now, I am thrilled to announce that I found out that I do have siblings and I am connecting with some of them!
As a former only child, that identity is long gone! I have 1 sister and 9 brothers! I am now the eldest daughter in the middle of a great, big family of maternal and paternal half-siblings. The connections I am making with them were a little awkward at first – picture receiving a surprising call or email, “Hello, I am your sister.” But, the tie of sibling holds weight, so we are all aiming to be closer and to love each other. As is the case in life, I am naturally, immediately closer to some than others. But, I love them all because love makes a family.
Now I am aware of how having the same blood coursing through our veins adds beautiful, novel elements to my life: My paternal brother is two-feet taller than I am, but I feel protective of him because he is my “baby” brother. We have the exact same eyes. My maternal brother and I have “softie” hearts cut from the same cloth. Also, we could be twins.
There are so many little things that I am learning about sibling relationships. One thing is for certain - I will never be an only child again! I am grinning from ear-to-ear as I write that declarative statement. I love the “brother” birthday card section at the store and I love referring to my sister in my conversations. My life is richer with my siblings. I wonder if sibling rivalry ever happens when you are 45 years old? I hope not. Maybe one gift of meeting as adults is skipping that phase all together!