I could have told them on that trip. I wanted to. Well, part of me wanted to anyway—the part of me that was screaming to know what the hell was going on. The part of me that no longer had an anchor—that was reeling in a state of identity vertigo. Shipwrecked and gasping for air. I’ve always been afraid of the dark.
In that first stage, I was more broken and in pain than I was angry or anything else. With this news came the second cut of my metaphorical umbilical cord, only this time as a fully aware adult. I craved wholeness, connectedness, and closeness with my parents—instinctively wanting to make that pain go away at any price, even if it meant dealing with the dizziness of not knowing who I was. More than anything I wanted to make that raw, deep, blindingly bright pain stop. I wanted my Mom and my Dad, as I knew them, as I wanted them to be.
I also knew that my Dad had been excitedly awaiting the trip. Calls and texts abounded with questions about places he’d researched and wanted to check out together—had I been to Commander’s Palace? Should we find a walking tour of the city? Where’s the best places to go for live jazz music? I already knew that I’d have limited time to spend with my parents while they spent the week with me in New Orleans due to work (which was its own storm as of recently, unraveling), and felt tremendously guilty about that, but I was running a company after all. Compounding this was the fact that this was the furthest I had ever lived from them, no longer just a 3-4 hour drive, and it was clear that they missed me dearly. As much as I don’t always love to admit it, (I’m a fiercely independent young woman), the same has been true for me.
At the end of the day, what I couldn’t bear to do was to spend the first full week that my parents were able to see me since I moved over 1,000 miles away breaking their hearts. I had no idea how they would react (my only inkling was based upon their denying anything to my brother when he had asked a year or two earlier, aside from their attempt to pacify my fears as a child after learning of my cousin’s true biological parentage), and in the end I wasn’t brave enough to find out on that trip, despite the universe potentially giving me the sign to bring it to them when it gave me my results the morning of their trip.
And so, I buried my fears, my seizing punches to the gut, and my unending list of questions so that I could embrace and seek refuge in the only version of my parents I knew. We went on walking tours, I introduced them to my favorite place for bunch, and caught live music on Frenchman Street. We had a blast.
I cried into my pillow each night as they slept.