You Never Know What Will Cause a Storm in Your Heart

Hello Darling Ones,

Of all the minor holidays to feel some kind of way about, my brain has chosen St. Patrick’s Day. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are the usual suspects when it comes to bringing up the inner ick of a lot of people. I get it. That makes sense. I’ve even seen a few only children get cranky about Sibling’s Day (where that lands in the calendar, I have no idea).

I’ve struggled with Father’s Day off and on through the years, mostly the years when my dad was shunning Sisters #2 & #4 due to Sister #3 being a liar. Man, families are hard, aren’t they? See that, only children? Siblings are sometimes a giant pain the ass.

None of these days get me right in the weird feels like St. Patrick’s Day. Tons of people take great pride in their Irish heritage. Most of my extended family on both sides love their Irishness, though I can’t quite recall if any of them can claim as much Irish blood as they do.

I can’t recall, because whenever talk turns to heritage or ancestry my brain tunes right out. I believe it started in junior high when maybe we had to do some kind of family lineage assignment. Without much thought I got a bunch of information from one of my Chromey aunts and it wasn’t until I was nearly done with the paper I realized none of it had anything to do with me.

My adoption and paternity has never been a secret. As the story goes I figured it out when I was four after having tubes put in my ears. Back in the 70s this was a spend the night in the hospital kind of situation and my wristband called me Jodi St. Martin, which was weird because the rest of my family were Chromeys. Eventually I was formally adopted, became Jodi Chromey and the rest is history.

Except it’s really not history. It’s an actual reality of my life and pretending it’s not doesn’t really do me any favors. My mom frequently forgets I’m adopted and that is a fun fact I don’t even know how to begin to handle.

Sometimes she tells me I’m like him because it makes her feel better. Like how she’s convinced he really loved computers, which was totally a thing a dude would have been into in the early 70s. Also, she believes I really love computers too because I’ve loved the Internet since the 90s. I let her have that one because it’s not worth the effort of explaining the difference. It’s just like how we let Grammu believe the phone rang every time you got an email.

When I was still in high school I asked her what his heritage was and her response was, “I don’t know, Polish, maybe?”

A few years ago my family got really into 23andMe or whatever ancestry DNA thing was trendy at the time. They spent the entire summer talking about the various results. Because I have that mental block, I have zero idea where family comes from. For some reason I feel as though if I can’t get the whole story I don’t want any of it.

I’ll never get my DNA tested. While I’m curious, I don’t want to know that much. One of the few things I found oddly comforting when I found my biological father’s obituary is that no other kids were mentioned. No kids were mentioned. Not even me. I don’t know how I would handle learning there are a bunch of other half-siblings like me walking around in the world.

So, this is what goes through my mind every St. Patrick’s Day. It’s become a weird, sad holiday only for me. I cope with it by listening to Sinead O’Connor the whole damn day and singing along as loud as I can.

Kiss me, I might be Irish,
Jodi

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2 Comments

  1. Tanya 13.Apr.22 at 1:31 pm

    Last year, 23andme told me I had an older brother I never knew about. It was my awkward privilege to tell this hopeful stranger that the dad he always dreamed of as a kid was so abusive that we were taken by the state several times. He was the result of a brief fling, so I didn’t learn any more about my dad’s youth, either. The new brother’s pretty nice, thankfully, but he looks just like my dad and it’s difficult to separate who he resembles from who he really is. He wears the face of a guy who made life hell. Sometimes it’s better to just not know.

    Reply
    1. Jodi Chromey 13.Apr.22 at 1:34 pm

      There’s a reason they say ignorance is bliss. It’s why I never met my biological father, that can of worms was just too much for me to handle.

      Yours is one complicated story. I’m honored you shared it and sorry you had to live it.

      Reply

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