Well, talk about a crazy 24 hours. When I woke up yesterday I had no idea what I was in store for. So it turns out this friend of my sister’s fiancé IS my half brother. And my biggest concern about it came to fruition.
My mother and sister, who meant well, tried to nonchalantly find out who his father was to see if it was the same. That’s when the fiancé got informed of the situation and told his friend that I was his half sister. Of course there’s more…He then reached out to me on Facebook by sending me a friend request. Freaking out and not knowing what to say to him I talked to my mother and sister about what they had said. My sister thought he told her fiancé that he had been looking for me. When I heard that, a sigh of relief came but I still didn’t want to divulge too much information without being sure. Well, it turns out not only was he not looking for me but he didn’t even know about me. None of his siblings do apparently.
This was what I worried about all day yesterday when debating even reaching out to him. Back and forth I went reminding myself that what I did have in life made up for what I missed and I am who I am now regardless (or maybe in spite) of him. I have lots to be grateful for. I have no doubt that I may not have become the hellion I did in my teens were it not for this situation but then I also know that I wouldn’t have learned all I did had I not experienced all that first-hand. God works in mysterious ways. I have lived with it and through it and I am fine. It wasn’t just me I worried about in this situation though. I have felt this way my whole life. It has ultimately made me who I am and I have learned to be happy with that because I didn’t turn out too bad. It’s the unknowing and unsuspecting victims of the aftermath that I worried about now. I wouldn’t wish those feelings or constant questions on anyone.
That saying about a mother doing better research than the FBI when it comes to her kids is true. Within an hour she had found my father’s current family and pictures of my father even. Staring at his face, it had aged quite a bit in comparison to the photos I have of him, but there was no mistaking that it was him. And he looked happy. It made me happy that at least it seems my father didn’t end up being some broken junkie who, after having a child way too young and marrying and divorcing before he could even legally drink, didn’t give up on life and made something of himself. It’s how I felt about myself after all – every reason to have just stayed on the rebellious path and to not care, I still fought through the darkness and came out a good person with so much to be thankful for. I stared at the pictures back and forth from my father to this brother I had never seen. I compared eyes, noses, cheeks, smiles. I pulled out pictures I have of my father looked at how he had aged and began wondering again. Do any of these other children know about me? Would they hate me? Would it cause trouble? Is that why he ignored my letter? I reached out to my father through the funeral home when his mother passed away. Don’t you think that if he wanted me in their life he would have contacted me by now?
This was way more than just “Hi” would cover. This is a whole person that I’m family with but have no knowledge of anything about him. Situations like this can cause you to not trust people. Especially when I have a beautiful new baby to consider first. I don’t even know how my father turned out let alone his children. Then the worry set in: Sure my dad seems okay in these pictures but what about this kid? He could be a drug addict, a thief. He could be anything and the only way to know is to find out by and make myself vulnerable to getting hurt by this situation again. Then I realized that I am happy and I am complete despite what my past may have been missing. My daughter is my everything and no pain from this situation could lessen the joy I now have in my life. There is no damage he can do that I haven’t already been through and survived. So I decided to go for it.
Well it didn’t feel great to know that they didn’t know about me and it also didn’t feel great to know that he somehow thought his (our) father may not have known about me himself. (Hell, he married my mother. She was pregnant. He lived with her and my grandparents and was in my life for at least a year of my life. He obviously knew about me). So then I felt horrible for having to answer his questions about whether or not my dad and his dad were really the same person. I felt defensive inside like I was being questioned because he thought I was a liar. Then I realized I would probably do the same thing. And the fact that he questioned it at all and wasn’t just like, “Oh. Hey. You’re my sister. Get in line” I thought spoke highly enough for the type of person he thought his (our) father is now that he didn’t just expect news like this. But then I felt guilty. I felt like I was opening some vault that wasn’t mine. I was exposing a secret to this clueless family and it wasn’t mine to expose. I felt guilty that this was all happening and hadn’t come from their (our) father. I feared what domino affect this would cause with their happy little family and then felt bad that I’d probably have total strangers hating me and cursing my existence. I probably wouldn’t know either way but I didn’t feel good about the possibility. I reminded myself that I didn’t track him down. I didn’t tell him who I was. I didn’t plan for any of this. Granted it came from my side of the family and this soon-to-be brother-in-law and it shouldn’t have. The cat was already out of the bag.
Well it turns out this kid is alright. At least he sounds that way and my sister’s fiancé attests to it. He was shocked, naturally, and initially wanted to build a relationship between the two of us and not tell anyone until later when the time was right. As sweet as it sounded for him to want to get to know one another, I knew there really is no “right timing” for this. I also didn’t want to sneak around getting to know him and then having him tell his (our) father months or even years from now and have him be mad that he kept this from him and was sneaking behind his back. If he had such a good relationship with his father I didn’t want my coming on to the scene being what began a rift in their relationship and caused him to start keeping stuff from his (our) father. I didn’t want to be the bad guy or the sneaky liar. It was the same thing I had told my mother when she came back into my life. It is important for me to have a clear conscience in this because I am the one who has to live with myself. So I told him that I think it’s best if he hears the rest from his (our) father and that we approach this honestly and as innocently as it was and not guiltily later. If his dad doesn’t want to know me or reach out, then that’s fine. I’ve lived 30 years without him and I can continue to do it. I don’t need him to be happy. At least then we’re not sneaking around and regardless of what his (our) father decides to do from his end, he and I can still get to know each other. After all it’s not like either of us intended for this to happen or looked for it. So surely his (our) father can’t be upset about it happening. Hell, if he wanted to keep me a secret he probably should have moved out of the tristate area. He had to have known this was bound to happen one day. But the bottom line was that his (our) father should know now so he’s not being lied to and he should be the one to make the decision if any of the other siblings (or his current wife if she doesn’t know either) find out about me or not. He agreed. He also thinks that when it does happen it will be good and says the family is very welcoming and nice. That’s reassuring. He obviously is going to need to find the right time and way to approach his (our) father about what he’s learned without announcing it over family dinner and simultaneously shocking them and hurting his own mother with the news that she may or may not know about either.
So now I just wait I guess. It all kinda feels like a script from Days of Our Lives. Pretty crazy. But then I have known about all this my whole life. I can’t imagine how my brother woke up feeling this morning. Either way the cat is out of the bag and no matter what happens from here I can at least breathe a little easier that one of the biggest questions I had about this situation has been answered. Whatever happens from here I just have to remember all of the blessings in my life and that even though this situation made me who I ultimately am, it doesn’t define me or control my ability to live and be happy.