Someday in early June 2018
It was time. Time for me to ask Sam and Jeannie could I meet them. At first I thought I wanted to meet them separately. I called Jeannie and we and made plans to meet in New Orleans. We thought I would be the perfect place to meet up and sing and drink our nerves away. And then I’d meet Sam later. Where? I wasn’t sure. But I knew I wanted to meet them separately because it would be easy on my nerves and because they hadn’t seen each other for almost 10 years…it would have been strange on all levels. But when thier DNA results came in at the same time (remember the night I checked with I was hanging out with my friend Valente?), I took it as a sign for me to meet them together in California, on my turf.
The next day I called Jeannie first.
“Jeannie I have a big ask…”
“Okay.” she chuckled nervously.
“I don’t want to meet you in New Orleans. I want o meet you and Sam here, together, in California.”
She sighed. “Oh, god, I haven’t seen Sam for about 10 years… It’s not a problem. Just let me know when.”
“You will?! Okay, the weekend on July 4th”
“Jeannie, thank you! I know I’m asking for a lot but my spirit is saying all three of us should be together when we meet.”
“I understand, Sweetheart. Anything for you. I just have to work some things out with him before we meet. He drives me nuts. But don’t worry about it. I’m looking forward to finally meeting you.”
We said our goodbyes and I hung up. I was nervous and excited. I then called Sam.
“Hello Janeen Jackson. ” he chuckled. Ever since I called him he was a big ball of emotions. One moment he would giggle, the next, he’d speak his words with exaggeration and passion and other times he sounded like he was on the verge of tears. I was really difficult to accept him not as a “father” but just as a person. He was making me shutter inside. My spirit didn’t know how to accept him. I kept praying for him wife because I figured she’d needed God’s strength to help keep Sam and herself together.
“Sam I was curious if you’d be willing to meet me here in California the weekend of July 4th…Jeannie has agreed to with me.”
“Wow! Yes! Oh Janeen!”
“Wow great Sam!”
“Does Jeannie know I’ll be there? Yes, I told her I’d ask you to meet with us.”
“Jeannie and I haven’t seen each other in over 10 years! We’ll have to talk ahead of time.”
“Yes, she told me.”
“Look Sam, I don’t really know what happened between you and Jeannie before or after I was born. But I appreciate that..that both of you are willing to push through your issues and fears to meet with me–especially since you’re married! I can only imagine how Anne must feel in all of this.”
“Oh Janeen! I’d do anything for my…daughter” he said in his country Appalachian accent.
Ugh, how I shivered when he said that. I’m Jim’s daughter–not his! (eye roll). But I get it. After we said goodbye. I looked out of the window. I’m finally going to my real birth story!, I said to myself.
During the weeks leading up to the meeting up. I struggled to find a private place for us to meet. I wanted to hire a photographer and a videographer team film the big day and didn’t want to draw any attention to our situation.
I reached out to a small local art gallery and asked if they had a gallery space I could rent. At first they said, until I told them my story and about how Jeannie was a professional Jazz singer and that Sam was a folk artist, teacher and musician and that I was a professional photographer. The gallery director said that she’d support artists in anyway she could especially with a story like mine, and gifted me a large private gallery space. I booked it for July 7, 2018.
It was set! OMG! I going to meet my…parents???
June 10, 2018
My mom, Janice and my niece, Jillian, were coming in to town to stay with my brother, Jermaine, go to my nephew’s high school graduation. My stomach sank. This was going to be the first time we would meet since my discovery. I had so much to get off of my chest. After the graduation, my mother and niece stayed in Santa Monica for a few days before heading back to Virginia. Whenever, I tried to get some alone time with her, she insisted that my niece come along. She said she didn’t want Jillian to feel left out. But I knew what was happening. My mother didn’t want to be with me alone. On their last night, my husband took the Jillian and our kids out for pizza. My mom put her jacket on to go with them until I said.
“Mom I’m taking you out for a special dinner. Just the two of us.” You should have see her face. She looked nervous.
“Oh your so sweet! Pizza is fine with me.”
“Well you can have pizza at the place I’m taking you to.” I looked at Ron, and he quickly go the kids out of the door.
It was time for mom and me to have the talk I’ve been waiting for.