He’s my half brother. Some of you may already know parts of this story. For those who do just read past the first part.
For most of my life I have been fatherless. Even my birth certificate lists no paternal name for..reasons. It honestly hasn’t bothered me since leaving grade school and the obligatory “make something that looks like a tie for Father’s Day” crafting projects. Over the years curiosity about my ancestors on the unknown side of my family was the one lingering question in the back of my mind. Asking my mom was not an option. On the few occasions I was brave enough to do so I was quickly shut down.
When she passed away it was time to do a little digging around. The first place I looked were the DNA ancestry sites. Knowing my mom’s family came from Poland meant anything that wasn’t clearly Eastern European would be from my father’s people. In theory. I tried DNA Tribes first. Interesting information but not quite enough. Then 23andMe came along with their family finder feature (weeee!!ffffffffffun) and I thought..ok, a distant cousin or two might be fun to know in a distant, non- stalker way, so I signed up. Now we were cooking with gas! There was some fun information about the amount of Neanderthal DNA I carried, (lots) where my earliest maternal ancestress came from (Siberia or Iran) and my British Isles heritage. Plus cousins! Not close mind you, but people with names. I learned a lot about mtDNA that year.
Then Ancestry.com had a sale on their DNA testing kit. So I gave it a go. Pinky and I had spent quite a bit of time there going down a rabbit hole of family tree research. Being able to combine the fun of tracing my known roots with the possibility of tracing my unknown roots was too good a combination to resist. So I took the plunge. Then something I did not expect happened. I had a relative. A close relative. First cousins or better close. Eep! Nervously I reached out.
And met a sweet man. We exchanged information, he put forth the theory that maybe his grandfather might be my unknown father but he would poke his dad and grandfather for more information.
Now understand, as a child I just assumed my mom didn’t include my father in my life because for whatever reason she simply didn’t want him to know about me. as I got older I assumed it was because he had another family, another life, that I could not for reasons, be a part of nor should I be. As my grandmother enjoyed reminding me I was just a bastard. A mistake of immense proportions. So I approached these newly found potential family members cautiously. After all as far as the 12 year old in me knew, they didn’t want me bringing my bastard spooge into their golden family circle. All I was looking for were names to add to the barren side of my family tree. What I got was something else entirely.
I got a brother. Once Ancestry and digging made it clear that the father of this newly minted first cousin or closer (now nephew) and I were related in that serious way. Nervously I waited to see what his first email would bring. His reply was “welcome to our dysfunctional family” . *sound of birds singing as the sun appears from the clouds in a Monty Python-esque cut scene*
Fast forward thru a bunch of emails and a few aborted attempts to work up the time and nerve to call and here we are today. Today my shiny new, wonderfully welcoming brother has informed me he will be in my neck of the woods next week (or the week after) and would like to meet me. EEp! again! Of course I want to meet him but there is still this voice in my head that says who wants a black sheep. Luckily for me I am well versed in ignoring that voice.
What an adventure this year has been already.