Saturday, October 19, 2019

My Newfound Brother

"The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as 
the man with no secrets to keep." -E.W.Howe

During the past two and a half years, I've imagined many times the moment when I would first meet my newfound brother face to face. Never once did I dream that we'd be standing in the parking lot of his local urgent care offices, with me nursing a battered shoulder and sporting one of my husband's plaid flannel shirts. 

But that is exactly the way it happened. Go figure.

Halfway through my meal, I leaned back in my chair, took a deep breath, and looked round me.

It was a busy night in the Michigan pizza shop, lots of large groups gathered around cobbled combinations of shoved-together tables, laughing and talking and eating in happy community.

Our group was no exception. The nine of us circled round together, inhaling pizza, chattering in animated, overlapping conversations, as comfortable people often do. We spanned quite a few decades in age but that didn't seem to matter, grins flashed across the table in all directions as the banter rolled on. Then my attention turned to the person seated at my right.

My brother, Jeff, whom I was meeting for the very first time.

To be fair, we've been talking by phone for several years now. When my father died in late 2016, I learned for the first time of this brother from another mother, a secret my father had successfully carried to his grave. But Jeff had tracked down our shared father several years earlier, and therefore knew of me. Sworn to secrecy, he'd waited patiently until the day just after Christmas in 2016. when he answered his phone to hear me say, "Hi, well, I guess I'm your sister."

We've been talking ever since.

It's an awkward thing, one might think, to discover an unknown sibling.

To face the undeniable reality of your' father's infidelity, lies, and secret-keeping.
To work through the deep emotions that stir up when our identity is rearranged.
To lay all the distance aside and begin a relationship that has gone missing for years.

But the truth it that it wasn't awkward at all.

I've found nothing but joy in my new brother. He's a funny, interesting, thoughtful person. Easy to talk to, easy to laugh with. We seem to intuitively understand what makes each other tick. And whatever darkness led to my father's irresponsible behavior all those many years ago, well, that has nothing to do with Jeff and me. We are simply happy to have found one another.

So it was with great celebration that my family stopped in to spend an afternoon with Jeff's family, and we became one big family together.

As I listened to the straws slurp against the bottom of empty cups, and watched his kids and mine buzz back and forth to the ice cream counter to order their desserts. Jeff and I looked at each other and smiled.

And I knew this was the just the first of many happy times I would spend with my newfound brother.

In all the lovely chaos of our visit, we totally neglected to take photos together. But here's a glimpse of my brother, Jeff, and his lovely wife, Dacia.

Courtesy of Dacia on Facebook

* * * * *

Here's the story I wrote when I first learned of Jeff's existence:

Fresh Air

* * * * *

And here, for what it's worth, is a reflection on what my dad taught me:

Father's Day Musings About A Bad Dad

* * * * *

Road Trip 2019: read all about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!