Gabriel and Elliot come in from my mom's garden, buck naked, covered in pomegranate juice, jubilant, holding hands. They continue from the back porch, across the living room, out the front door, my sister and I watching their progress. It is night.
Laura: Where are you guys going?
Elliot: We go *unintelligible.* (Elliot talks a lot now, but if you don't know what he's talking about, it can be impossible to interpret)
Me: Gabriel where are you guys going?
Gabriel: We're going to San Diego to see my sister!
Me: Oh. How are you getting there?
Gabriel & Elliot, in unison: Walking.
Laura: How do you walk to San Diego?
Gabriel: You turn right, then you turn left, then you go to San Diego, and we're gonna visit my sister! Ooh let me call her!
He picks up the Fisher Price play phone.
Gabriel: "My sister? We're coming to visit you! I'm bringing Elliot! And I'm bringing some toys to share!"
Eventually, we dissuaded them from their journey with dinner and storybooks.
Gabriel has a half sister, Brea. She's 11. She lives in Southern California somewhere. Probably not San Diego, but it was San Diego at one point. I was talking to Gabriel about how his aunt and uncles are my brothers and sister, and he wanted to know if he had brothers or sisters. I told him he did. And then, at his request, I told him everything I know about her, which is admittedly little. Was that wrong? I don't think so.
To my knowledge, K has not seen his daughter for at least 5 years. Despite his legal right to know where his daughter lives, he claims that he has no idea where she could be. I think this makes it easier for him to ignore the situation. While there's no way for me to know all the details, it can't be easy, or free of hurt. I have many complaints and much distrust when it comes to Gabriel's father, but I do believe he loves his children.
I think that regardless of K's seemingly failed relationship with his daughter and/or her mother, it is Gabriel's right to know his sister. I would like to write Brea's mother a letter. I would like to send some photos. I don't even know if she knows she has a brother. Does she even know?
K has repeatedly refused to give me any information. Even a last known address? Even the address of her maternal grandmother? Surely I could mail something there? I've emailed K's parents to ask if they, as her grandparents, know how to track her down. Those requests have been met with no response at all. I suspect this is out of some sort of position of solidarity with their son. I don't know her mother's last name, I don't know how to find her. I seek only to open a line of communication, so that someday, these children may know one another as family. That is their right. They are siblings. The should know each other. They should have that choice. They are children.
For my part, I am baffled by this unwillingness to help Gabriel know this girl, this shared blood. I would love it if K's family took a more involved role in Gabriel's life. They are his uncles, his cousins, his grandparents. I believe a lot of their distance is indeed geographical. But his sister, as far as I know his sister lives in California, and I think that it's Gabriel's right to grow up knowing her. I don't think that anyone should deny him that.