We Are Family

By Toni Grates

It was a Thursday afternoon in May and I needed a break from other things.  So, I headed to Facebook to engage in mindless activity and look at pictures of rainbows and kittens with inspirational quotations. I logged on to find a message from someone named Angela… “ Hi, Toni.  This isn’t the kind of e-mail you write everyday…”.  I had laundry in the dryer. My tea water was boiling.  And I had a sister I’d never heard of.

In addition to my full biological brother, 2 half-sisters and half-brother from my mom,  step-sister from my step-dad and half-sister and half-brother from my father, there was now an Angela. This was a double whammy, since 2 years previously I had also learned of siblings I didn’t know I had – also through Facebook. (See half-sister and half-brother above.) Clearly, our biological father had made a lot of friends in the 1980s.  Little did he know the fruits of his friendships would end up finding each other decades later, thanks to social media. If I ever needed a kidney, I’d be set.

As it turns out, Angela was conceived after my parents divorced. She’d never met our biological father. She only had a first and last name – the latter I still share with him. Being a writer herself, she did a search and found my blog. Based on an entry about growing up with a single mom, she thought there might be a chance we were related. A little more research and she found out we were siblings.

We met only 4 months ago on Facebook and 2 weeks ago, Angela was in attendance at my wedding. She was actually the one who first recommended the venue, thanks to her top-notch research skills. She was an honour roll student and an overachiever, just like me. She also knows what it’s like to not want to make a dorky construction paper tie on Father’s Day. Although I don’t think about my biological father on a daily basis, I did think of him that day. And I knew there was at least one other person in that church who understood.

The day was perfect, and by the end of the night, my new sister and my half sisters and my step-sister and my girlfriends who are like sisters were all toasting and dancing together. When we focus on commonalities, we really are more the same than we are different. Whether we’re full blood, half blood or no blood. We are family. I got all my sisters with me.

Thank you, Sister Sledge.  And thank you, Facebook.


Toni Grates


Toni Grates is a yoga instructor, actor, writer & the Artistic Director of the Travelling Stage.  She’s also a domesticated nomad, unconcerned with societal norms.




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