Iâ€™VE ALWAYS ENVIED THOSE PRIVILEGED WITH growing up side by side with siblings.
In grammar school I would hear kids complaining about how annoying their younger brother was or how mean their older sister was, and I always felt left out of the conversation.
Iâ€™d pipe in every once in a while to talk about the Yoda action figure my brother had sitting on his desk in his dorm room three hours away at UC Santa Cruz, or one of the other few obscure details I knew about him that I considered cool.
Even though I had him to look up to, I still never felt connected with him or my other even older brother the way my peers were linked with theirs.
I was basically raised as an only child and although my friends would always tell me how lucky I was to have my own room and no one going through my toys, I still felt that Iâ€™d rather be experiencing sibling rivalry than be alone.
Iâ€™d play with my dad to fill the void, but it wasnâ€™t the same â€” he was old.
The drama of high school increased this desire for fellowship. I wanted an older sister to guide me through the process â€” being a bookworm I lacked social intelligence and got burned several times by the catty girls.
I thought if I had an older sister sheâ€™d help.
It was more of a desire for a true friend I could completely trust â€” I knew girls with big sisters and they were always best friends and had each otherâ€™s backs.
If you messed with the younger one, the older one would say â€œOnly Iâ€™m allowed to call her that, if you say it Iâ€™ll kick your (insert body part here).â€
These feelings led me to begin an investigation for my two estranged siblings â€” one of them the older sister I wanted so badly during the hard times.
It was a difficult task. My original search was centered on the brother Iâ€™d never met, because my suspicion was that my sister might be married and be under a different name.
I continued this approach for a year and came up empty-handed.
Then one day, about a month before graduation, I decided I had nothing to lose and searched for my sister on MySpace.
I thought it was a wild shot because she, like my other siblings, was much older and probably didnâ€™t have a MySpace, but, lo and behold, the place I least expected Iâ€™d find her, I did.
Her page wasnâ€™t blocked either so I was able to go look at her pictures and I asked my dad if that looked like it could be her. He thought so but couldnâ€™t be 100 percent because he hadnâ€™t seen her since she was a child.
Luckily, there were pictures of her with her mom â€” who my dad immediately recognized â€” and with our older brother.
I was nervous, but messaged her right away. Soon everything fell into place â€” it was what Iâ€™d call a miracle.
I spoke to my brother on the phone first and he was anxious to talk to Dad, also. My sister was shyer, but eventually she reconnected with him as well.
That summer when I went on a planned trip to see my grandmother in Illinois, I met my brother and his wife and three children also, and he reconnected with grandma and our aunts, uncles and cousins.
Now a year later, almost all the puzzle pieces have come together.
My dad has his son and oldest daughter back in his life. I met him and his family and my dad reconnected with her in Las Vegas.
All that hasnâ€™t happened yet is my sister and I meeting in person.
The plans for this summer vacation, though, should fill that gap, as well as that gap that was in my heart for so many years.