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We Are Family!

That picture right there is of my cousin, Len and his wife, Peggy. Up until this past spring I hadn’t seen Len in about 25 years despite the fact that he lives and works in the town next to mine. You see, I am a kid of divorced parents and Len is my cousin on my dad’s side. (Just to be clear, this is my biological father, not my stepfather that I have written about here on the blog. Rather, this would be the dad who may or may not still be alive and living in Maine – I honestly don’t know since I haven’t heard from him in over 15 years now. Ouch.) Anyway, Β once the grandmother that Len and I shared passed away in 1986 we really didn’t have anyone to get us together, you know? I knew stuff about Len, knew he was the fire chief in the next town, that he lived close by and was raising a family, but that was about it and it would have been kind of awkward, I guess, to just show up at the Fire Station and ask for the Chief. So the years slipped by and we had no contact or first hand knowledge of each other.

Enter my hero, my husband Dale. He happened to be at the Fire Station in the town where we work one day when Len was there for a meeting of the local chiefs. Dale noticed the uniform and the name and walked right up to him and started a conversation. Within a few moments he blurted out, “hey, this is weird to just say, but I’m married to your cousin, Carole.” Len was shocked – and thrilled! – to find this out and he was full of questions about me and my life and my family. I was really excited when Dale told me about their encounter and I hoped it would mean we would get together but I didn’t want to be the one to pursue it – it comes back to that child of divorce thing again, I think, and a mom who was always telling me that they didn’t want us anymore.

Luckily, I didn’t have to be the one who pursued it because my big, awesome, wonderful cousin reached right out to me on Facebook and we started conversing. It wasn’t long before the 4 of us met for dinner and we’ve been in regular contact ever since. We text all the time, we’ve had some other get togethers, and Len and Peggy came to our Halloween party a few weeks ago. You have no idea how proud I was to walk him through my house and introduce him to my friends. “This,” I said, “is my cousin.” I still get a little thrill every time I think about it because, as you all know, my parents are gone (well, except for that one in Maine, maybe) and my brothers are gone and I really only have Dale’s family. They are great and I love them all but they aren’t my family. Len, though, is my family and so is his wife and his kids and his sister Lisa and it’s awesome to be a part of their lives.

Tonight we are all having dinner together at the restaurant where Len’s daughter is a manager. Len hasn’t met Hannah yet and Dale hasn’t met Len’s kids yet and it’s going to be a big family pre-Thanksgiving love fest, I just know it.

I definitely have a lot to be grateful for this year.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. I’m so very glad you have found and become friends with Own and his family! It makes my heart glad to see you so happy πŸ™‚

  2. So wonderful to find or be reunited with family and find out that we WERE loved and wanted all along! Enjoy this happy reunion!

  3. I got shivers reading your story, Carole. I’m so glad that you and Len have connected again, and that you have each other in your lives! There’s just something about those family connections. (And. . . That Dale! He’s some kind of wonderful!)

  4. What a great story! I know from experience that it is both scary and liberating to become the matriarch of a family and to be able to make decisions the previous generation would have vetoed. You go, girl!

  5. How wonderful for all of you. Family dynamics can create such divides, and it’s wonderful to have people like Dale who feel comfortable to cross them. Enjoy!

  6. Finding family after so many years is a gift, one you deserve and have worked towards. Family is a treasure and you are the kind of person who will do all you can to keep it safe and close. Enjoy, have a great time together, Carole!

  7. Ya gotta love those people who are willing to put themselves out there and say, “Hey, I think we should know each other.” So, nice job Dale! And kudos to Len for following up. Of course, our family is truly what and who we make it.

  8. Carole- so happy for you!!! What a great thing to have this happen!! Have a fantastic dinner with them tonight πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. It helps me get my day off to a good start, and to think about people, not just relatives, with whom I should try to reconnect. Thanks for the push!

  10. That kind of happened in our family, too, and it feels great. The son of a put-up-for-adoption child a generation or so ago, found us and reconnected. Unfortunately, his grandmother has died, and his great-aunt (my mother) is too gaga now to tell him how it all came about, so some mysteries remain. He has grandparents, parents, and a whole family of his own. Still, it’s nice. And he looks like us.

  11. Awesome! Just AWESOME! SO happy that you and Len are reunited and can make so many special “family” memories togethr! Good Job Dale! Thanks for sharing your very touching story. And may it inspire others to reach out to their family and/or friends during the upcoming holiday season πŸ™‚

  12. I think this is quite possibly the best essay I’ve ever seen to describe the discombobulation divorce creates for the children! And it’s also about the happiest story. I’m so glad you hooked up and are making new family. I’m sending all of you many (many) (((Hugs)))

  13. I’m writing this with tears and smiles. What a touching story. Dale is awesome and has given you the best possible holiday gift!

  14. What a great story! I’m sure you are going to have a fun time at dinner! This Facebook thing has been good for family reunions. My husband reunited with his cousins last year after not seeing them for a long time. Now we regularly get together. It’s great that he has that connection. Now if I could just find my cousins…….

  15. This brings tears to my eyes. I, too, am a child of divorce and family estrangement, and know how hard it is to reach out to a dwindling family. Have a great dinner! I’ll be thinking of you tonight.

  16. aw- this is wonderful! i also recently found out i have more family and they live about 4 hours away. it’s been great getting to know them- especially since we are so similar. πŸ™‚
    good luck tonight and take good care!

  17. I’m so glad, Carole. It’s really important to have someone who belongs to your family of origin!

  18. That is awesome! I’m glad Dale took a chance and that things worked out so beautifully. I hope they continue to go well. Have a great time tonight!

  19. Well, this post made me cry!! How wonderful to reconnect with your cousin — they can be the next best thing to siblings!

  20. I’m so happy for you…and for Len…and all your family! hope you had a wonderful time, but even if you didn’t it’s ok. it’s family.

  21. how fabulous!!! Im going through a little Father estrangement myself this year.. THe holidays will be very different for me….but that’ s OK! Long story I dont share on my blog either….
    IM just thrilled you and your cousin are together as FAMILY again.

  22. Well that just brought a big smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I am so happy for your family. Love multiples.

  23. Very cool. At my mom’s memorial my cousin, whom I hadn’t seen in over thirty years gave me the gift of a CD of family videos from our childhood. I didn’t know these movies existed and it was a gift of lost happy memories.

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