If you haven’t read part one of my story of finding an extended family, read it now. Otherwise, let’s continue…
So, what did I do after finding the Facebook page for Surrogate Grandparents USA? How did I plan to find people who wanted to serve as grandparents for my son Sam? Well, I wrote a profile about us and sent it into the universe. My fingers flew over the keys as if they had a mind of their own. I wrote from my heart, or maybe my heart wrote for me. All I know is that I had to do it then and there. The next few days, I looked around the site, and whaddya know again? I saw a profile of a couple searching for a family. THEY LIVED IN MY TOWN! I was so excited, and I could not believe that they lived so close by. I had read so many profiles of people living far away and bonding with families in another state, so I just assumed that this would be the case for me too.
Normally, this is when doubt and skepticism would creep in. Who are these people? Are they serious? Do I really want to do this? These are the thoughts that would typically sideline any bold move that I planned to make. Usually, I would soak up the self-doubt and sink into woe is me. But what happened instead is that Big Magic took over. As a result, I found myself sending a message to the couple before I could even think about it.
Looking back now, I wish I had written something sophisticated. I could have used bigger words or said something to show them that I wasn’t a total idiot. Something along the lines of “How wonderful to meet your acquaintance,’ or “it’s a stroke of luck meeting you here like this.” Maybe I could’ve used one of the three French words I know. I could’ve ended the conversation with “au revoir “or maybe even “arrivederci.” But no, what did I do? I wrote something along the lines of “OMG, you live in my town!” Not very original at all. Urgh!
Big Magic struck out that day. I also added information on who we were and our hopes of finding a match. A day or so later, I got a reply. Yay!! As the days went by, we kept messaging each other. I allowed the relationship to grow, but I didn’t force it. If it worked, it worked. If it didn’t, it didn’t. I needed to temper my expectations. I had seen so many people on the site who wrote that it took them weeks, months, or a year to finally find a match. Some even said their initial matches fizzled out. I did not want to be disappointed. I was going to take it slow no matter what.
Weeks passed. We kept talking and texting. Eventually, we exchanged phone numbers and started texting each other directly. I smile now, thinking of the excited text messages filled with typos that we sent each other. Soon, I got to know them, and they got to know us. Kate and I have the same profession. We can talk shop for days. Mark and Sam have an addiction to sports. They can talk for hours about statistics and games from years ago. We talked, kept talking, and talked some more.
When we finally met in person, I knew a lot about them and felt comfortable. It turns out that we have a friend in common! Eventually, I brought Sam to meet them. I decided to tell him that Kate and Mark were friends that I wanted him to meet because I did not want him to get excited in case it didn’t work out. I was going to take things slowly and just see where it led. We talked and bowled; we talked and had brunch. And, we talked and watched movies. We talked till they simply became our good friends.
A few weeks later, Sam had a big basketball game. As usual, we had phone calls with family, but since they lived so far away, they could not just drop everything and come. I packed his snacks, water, and a sweatshirt to wear in the cold gym. People started filling the stands. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents showed up to cheer on their kiddo on the court. Some of them wore matching shirts or hats. Others were decked out in the team sweatshirt and pants. They were happy and excited, and I hated all of them. They were the kind of people who shouted directions to their kids in the middle of the game. The kind of people who made snacks for the entire team. They were not my kind of people.
I sat alone on the cold, steel bleacher bench and prepared to shout to cheer Sam on. I wanted him to know that I was there, that he had someone there. As I sat, I reminded myself that I was by myself, but I wasn’t alone. We were not alone; we just didn’t have family right here, right now. As I sat there rationalizing how stupid it was to make family T-shirts with your kid’s name on the back, I looked up and saw Big Magic.
There it was. There they were. Kate and Mark had made the time to come to my son’s game. They were shouting and waving at me. I clambered down the steps, knocked over my coffee cup, and threw myself into their arms. I hugged them both, and I nodded at whatever they said as I tried to stop my eyes from tearing from the Anne Klein perfume, which I swear I smelled. We made our way to our seats. Then we began to shout loud enough for people to hear in Montana: “Go get ’em, Sam! You’ve got this!” Kate and Mark shook hands with the other parents and introduced themselves as Sam’s grandparents. Then we turned around to watch the game.
As I sat there, I saw Sam smile at us. I saw him look our way when he made a three-pointer. He made a few that day. I saw him turn towards the stands so he could hear the advice Mark was shouting in the middle of the game. We clapped, we cheered, we jumped, and we won! As we were leaving the gym, I asked one of the moms where she got the T-shirt with her kid’s name on it. This is entirely for research purposes, of course.
My story, our story, is continuing. It’s almost a year now, and we are as good as gold. Imagine the story you could tell if you were a grandparent to a child. Listen, if you have room in your heart and time in your life, consider being a grandparent to a child. It doesn’t matter if you have biological grandchildren or just never had kids of your own. As long as you have love and time, you can do this! Start by logging on to Surrogate Grandparents USA and reading the success stories. It will inspire you to be a gift to the child and to receive so much more in return. Do it. I double dare you.
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