So I met my 24 year old brother this last weekend when I was in Winnipeg. I have never met him before. I knew of him for a while, and we were fb friends for a few years before I finally had the chance to see him. I’m keeping his name out of my blog for his privacy, along with too many details of his life, because he has his own life and privacy concerns I am sure. ANYWAY, mostly I wanted to talk about what it was like meeting a sibling who can actually talk, for the first time in my life.
Because as you may know, we do have another sister, Sky, who I grew up with, who is severely intellectually disabled and non-verbal. She has about six words and some signs and knows how to get her needs across most of the time. But she’s not someone I can have a conversation with. We shared a room when I was really small. She was always across the table from me growing up. She probably shaped who I am in a lot of profound ways that I’ve never fully explored.
But my brother, he’s like, very much verbal, since he is not like Sky at all. He went to school. He has two jobs. He has some very striking similarities to me that were kind of amazing for me to realize.
Because Sky has things she likes and stuff, but this was the first time I could talk about shared interests and things about growing up and what kinds of values we shared and all kinds of stuff with a sibling. And we do some of the same things, like buy books and have trouble getting around to reading them, and knowing about some of the same ridiculous things on the internet like a certain series of stories on nosleep, and this post about one type of rock called malachite that is super toxic. We both used to fish but never would be able to hunt because it’s just not in our natures. We both used to be blonde when we were way younger. We both had pets all our lives. When we went for dinner we both ordered the same thing, which I thought was really cute. It’s like how when people go on a promising date and click, except this was not a date (OBVIOUSLY) but there was still that sense of things clicking like finding a part of yourself you never got to know before, and the comforting similarities in each other, and looking at someone who had some of the same facial features almost. Like different, but there’s overlap. It was a really amazing experience, and I was super anxious before we met, like what if we didn’t like each other, or what if it all went sideways. But instead we both got excited talking with each other in the same kinds of ways, and I think it went well.
There’s supposed to be another brother out there I think. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember something about another sibling. I don’t know his name or how to find him though. But even if I never find the other brother, there’s still this connection I have with another human being on this earth that is pretty amazing. I don’t know how people are with siblings they grew up with who they were always able to communicate with like regular people, how they feel about their sisters and brothers. Like what is that relationship like? I have an older sister I always knew, but she’s not someone I’ve ever been able to ask for advice from, or any of the other things sisters do with each other, like get taken to the exhibition, or annoy when Mom’s not looking, or any of that.
And that being said, I don’t know how close my brother and I will get. We did grow up in separate places, with separate mothers and families. We share a father. But Dad wasn’t around much for my life, and definitely not at all for my brother. So I dunno, I mean there are lots of things I could say about our father, but really I’m not so interested in talking about that as I am in trying to figure out where this little brother fits in my life.
I don’t think he and I are going to write emails back and forth or anything, although we might. But he might come through Toronto this coming summer and then we can see each other again. I’m alright with randomly seeing each other when we happen to be in the same city.
Like I don’t want to stress him out by overloading him with needy sister stuff. And we seem to be doing good anyway, apart. But still, there’s this relatively new connection with someone very very closely related to me, even more than my cousins, and it’s kind of blowing me away.
I’m glad we have so much in common. It’s really making me feel part of something. Like I said, I know my Dad, but he was always kind of distant. And this is a relative of mine descended from Dad also, and in some ways it makes me wonder how much of us comes from Dad. Like if Dad had been raised differently, or if he had let me know more about his nature and interests, I don’t know. It’s like seeing my family in a Venn diagram and looking at the overlapping parts. I don’t want to come across like Dad never let me into his life, because for sure I know some of his secrets and will carry them with me to the grave. But like, what was Dad like when he was way younger?
I feel protective of my Dad and how people might see this situation. BUT also I feel really protective of my brother. I don’t want certain people reaching out to him and messing up his life. I mean, I am sure he’ll be fine. But also I just know there’s so little discussion about siblings finding each other so late in life, and best practices for the rest of the family, and like what does he want out of all of this? Like how often does this happen? Who talks about these situations? There’s no cards to send that specify long lost sibling reunions. There’s very little guidance in trying to form new relationships with family so closely related and yet who you know so little about. The only image that keeps coming to mind is when Hank Hill goes to Japan and finds his long lost half brother. And that’s like, not very helpful ha ha!
I’m glad we had this experience though. It’s nice to know he’s out there, and that he seems happy and okay.