Family Ties

If you’re like me, you’ve been on Facebook for a while and the only new friend requests come as a result of a random introduction at a party or change of jobs or cities. You’ve already friended everyone you already ‘really’ know unless they are not on the social network. You’ve looked up former classmates, old neighbors, and friendly ex’s. Let’s face it, if they’re not on your friend’s list yet they probably never will be. Facebook’s “Find People You May Know” feature is purely an excuse to scroll through a list of burley bears for guys you think are cute.

With all that said, earlier this week I actually found someone on Facebook I knew from the past.  I am now friend’s with my cousin Annie. Annie is a first cousin on my father’s side. Her mother is my father’s sister. My family has always been small and all of the family I grew up with is from my mother’s side. My father’s only sister moved to California when I was an infant and as a result we’ve never been very close. In the past 20 years I’ve seen my Aunt only a handful of times. As far as her children go (my cousins) I have no relationship with them what so ever. If we passed each other on the street I doubt we would recognize each other without context. There’s no bad blood or tension, just simply family members growing apart and living separate lives. I guess my father’s casual attitude toward his only sister rubbed off on us. They speak less than once a month but they both seem to be fine with that arrangement.

This all started Tuesday night as I was lying in bed. I realized that god forbid something happen to my parents, I would have no way to contact anyone from that side of the family. I didn’t know an address or phone number. The last time I was at their California estate was in 1997. It occurred to me that Facebook is the perfect tool for this situation and I should look them up. Well that was easier said than done. I was doing this all from my phone so my search options were limited. Knowing very little information about their current lives was only compounded by the fact that their last name is somewhat generic. Hundreds of hits would come back with every search. I decided to focus my search on Annie because she had gotten married and her married name was a bit more unique. Of course that was after a half hour of trying to remember her married name. My hope was she would have her last name hyphenated on FB as most married women do now so they can be found by childhood friends. Once I remembered the married name I searched for it alone and with luck there was only match… a name named Tom. Tom lived in her general area of California so I hoped this might be her husband. As you already know, if you’re not friends with someone you can only see very very limited information about them. He didn’t even have a relationship status. Son of a bitch! I enlarged his profile picture and thankfully Annie had commented on it. Bingo!

So now I have a link to family I’ve never really known. I don’t expect to become BFF’s but at least now we have a way of staying in contact. We can start to build a relationship through likes and status updates.
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