Come to Papa

Sometimes things move more quickly than we expect. A few weeks ago, Yvette found out that she had twin half-brothers. Friday morning was the first time in her life that Yvette had met a blood relative- her brother came to visit. On Saturday, her brother set off for NJ to meet their father.

Yvette, her boyfriend, Paul, and I waited and waited for him to return. At first, there were a few text messages letting us know how things were going… at 5 “he’s heavy and a little taller than me”- and at 6 a quick one- and then nothing…. until midnight. A rush of short texts.

“On the way.”
“It was great.”
“He wants to have lunch with you tomorrow.”

Yvette nearly dropped dead. She was going to meet her father. As we waited for her brother to return from the meeting, she nervously cleaned the kitchen and explained that she didn’t know if she was ready. For some time, her life had been all about searching. Now, the searching was coming to an end and she didn’t know how to deal with the emotions of that transition.

As a filmmaker I always try to stay out of the way. I keep my mouth shut as much as possible and hope the subjects forget about the camera. However, this is a different film for me. I’m a part of it. Yvette and her brother meeting- Yvette meeting her father- these are part of the story of possibly meeting my own child- their reactions inform my own understanding of this complex mess of emotions.

So as I watched, listened, and participated, I constantly thought about the film that I’m making and how the shots I was making might fit into that story- and I felt compelled to insert myself.

As Yvette rushed around getting ready, she and her brother discussed that she might wear something that would make her look like one of their father’s younger daughters. Paul firmly stated that Yvette should dress like herself and I loudly agreed. I had been mostly watching the drama unfold. Both Yvette and her brother wanted to meet their father and were terrified of having things go awry. They were putting his needs in front of theirs in a powerful way and it struck me as wrong and I explained why. Her brother had a convincing response- especially given the fact that he had already met his father and felt deeply at peace about it all.

(The following is in quotes but I’m not basing it off the tape- just off the top of my head) “I’m not mad at him. I just wanted to meet him. To me it was a sales call, and I wanted to close the sale. So of course I tried to make it all comfortable for him… and I closed the sale. it was awesome. I got to learn so much about our family.”

He had a good point- he didn’t really want a relationship. He didn’t need to have another father. His social father is great, and he’s deeply connected to him- yet he had a deep desire to know to know meet his blood relative.

As we discussed all this, Yvette and her brother brushed their teeth with electric toothbrushes. They are both worried about receeding gums- and have a lot of other things in common. They not only look alike, they talk alike, act alike…. are alike. It was odd to see them quickly become so comfortable with each other.

more to come….

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