Gradually, the cherry red Ford truck lost its battle with the icy hill, and we started rolling backwards. The gear wouldn’t catch, the treads wouldn’t stick, and my mom was at a loss for what to do.
“This is it,” I thought. “This is my time”.
As I looked out the truck window and escaped into my mind, snow started swirling up towards the heavens, a music box started trilling, I had magically donned boots & a wool coat, my hair had gradually shifted hues, and my name had become Anastasia. I imagined a life of aimlessly wandering through the snow cloaked woods that I could see, until eventually someone would find me, recognize me, and name me as royalty. Maybe a cute guy would want to marry me as well, but I was really just interested in wearing the gowns that came with being a Russian princess. Have you seen those sleeves? The full skirt? The embellished thread details and bold seams? Magical. I would glide down the staircase, not worried about missing a step, into the arms of my destiny, a destiny filled with important decision making for my country and picking which gown fit my mood that day.
Sound farfetched? Think I’m embellishing in the hopes of writing a captivating story? Ha. You have no idea. This, my friend, is a true story, and there is a solid chance I’m leaving out a few details to make myself seem more normal than what I really & truly was.
Aside from the Anastasia fantasy that every little girl has, I had mini-moments where I would imagine something different. Except in these imaginations, I was always royalty, so I’m not sure they were actually different at all. A different country’s royalty.. Does that count? And before you ask, I have no idea why I’m so obsessed with royalty. My dad has been asking me that for years.
For better or for worse, the days of this overactive imagination have come to an end. I have had to bid adieu to my stories, my hopes, and my ascension to the throne. For in this alternate world, one that some might call “reality”, I have met my ancestors, my lineage, none of whom are royal.
We do have a castle though, in Scotland.. or Ireland..? Although I’m not sure we actually own that. It’s just named after someone in our family who once owned it.
I am not royal. So painfully not royal. Identity stolen. Reality is terrible. Little girl dreams, shattered. How will I ever go on?
What was the question again? I was answering someone’s question when I started writing this post. Oh yes, “How does the family you have met so far on your biological side compare in real life to what you imagined before meeting them”.
Wow, talk about getting side tracked.
Before meeting my biological family, aside from royal desires, I really didn’t imagine much. I primarily wondered about my bio mom and what she was like. In crowds, I would look for people who looked like me, not necessarily hoping to find her, but wondering if it might happen if I looked hard enough. I desired to know what she looked like, and would always study my friends who had blood surrounding them. Analyzing their bone structure, their eye color, their build, I would wonder if I shared characteristics with anyone out there. I wanted to share those characteristics so badly, but knew I might not ever know (not in a depressing way, but in a matter-of-fact way), so I didn’t dwell on it too often or too extensively.
A few moments that stuck out to me when this question was asked are these.
When I was really little, my mom didn’t want to share drinks with me. I mean, obviously, kids are gross and they put everything in their mouths. But at the time, this was heartbreaking to me. I wanted her to want to share a drink with me! Germs? Who dat? I wondered if there was a person out there who would share a drink with me because we already shared DNA, and my little girl brain tucked that memory away.
Growing up, my brother was a nerd. Before it was cool. But I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’m convinced I got my love of reading from him. He would read these big books, feed his fish, draw these beautiful pictures, and tackle people (football, not just in everyday life). I thought he was the coolest thing since bacon. Anyway, one day, for a school assignment, he was asking our parents some questions about family medical history. I wanted so badly to be included in the conversation. When I asked him to ask me some questions, he told me that he couldn’t because we weren’t actually related. I wondered, was there a sibling out there who would have used me for a school project? Tucking away, goes my brain.
On the way back from a trip to Haiti, our group was sharing our biggest “takeaways” (yes, my dad was on that trip). One of the people there shared that he had enjoyed seeing my dad & I interact on the trip. He told us there would be times that he would look over and my dad & I would be standing the exact same way, listening the exact same way, and then would respond similarly. This was a memory that didn’t get tucked in my brain, but in my heart (I mean, that was too easy. I set myself up for this cheesy line. Sorry, not sorry.). I did not wonder about anything else in this moment, because I felt that I was exactly where I was meant to be.
What is written here is truly the extent to which I seriously thought about my biological family. I had passing wonderings about siblings and extended family, the occasional desire for a sister, but my most time-consuming thoughts have always surrounded the mysteriously mystical biological mother. What is she like? What does she like? What does she look like? Would she like me?
For the biological family that I have met so far, it feels like I have always known them. It feels as if we picked up right where we left off. It feels as if I have always been on their heart and in their mind, and we, or our relationships, were all just suspended in time until the right moment, when our worlds would once again join together.
In conclusion, I am not royalty. My imaginations were just that, imaginative. The time I spent really thinking about my biological family was very limited due to the quality of the family I was already a part of, and the biological family I have met has far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. When I did dwell on where I came from, my thoughts were always wrapped around who my bio mom was.
She’s a lot cooler than Russian royalty, let me tell you.
Upon receiving feedback, the following updates have been added:
I am related to Lady Godiva and Edgar Allan Poe, which is like, pretty cool.
When I reference my biological family, I am also including my bio mom’s husband & his family (more on the relation later). I forget that I am not technically biologically related to them!
I am also in contact with my bio father & that side of the family, but this relationship is not as developed as my bio mother’s side just quite yet. That being said, holy smokes, what a beautiful looking family they are!