About 3 months ago I was online, on facebook (not surprising) and I was chatting with my cousin. He is my cousin on my Dad's side and he is actually the son of my first cousin, so he is quite a bit younger than me but we have been pretty close for the last several years. We are chatting away and everything is just idle chit chat when all of a sudden he says to me "so, I have to ask you something but I do not want to cause any problems" and I told him to go ahead and ask, he then asked me if I knew about my brother, as in did I know that I had another one. Hmm, well I said "are you saying that my dad had an affair? He then informed me that his Grandma, (whom my mother no longer has a relationship with) told him that my mom had a son with her first husband. I said "no, she didn't, I think I would know" well to make a really long story short the next night I was on the phone with my mom and said "oh mom you won't believe what is being said about you" I went on to tell her what I had been told, I sat and listened and waited for her response which I knew for sure was going to be laughter. Then "oh. hmm. well I just never knew how to tell you." WHAT???? Here I was 40 years old, always knew that my mom had been married before my dad, had even seen the wedding photos and the write up in the newspaper but somehow never, ever knew that she had a baby.
My mom had always been so afraid to tell me, so afraid I would judge and that our relationship, (which we already have struggled with my whole life) would be damaged. She carried this secret around for 50 years. Of course her friends knew, so many of them had been there when she had the baby, had supported her through her decision to leave. My dad knew, she said it was one of the first things she told him. She asked him to please never tell his family because she thought they would hate her. She told me that night on the phone that every time one of the children died, the twins, Ronda, Mike she would look at my dad and say "it's my fault, I left my son and now God is punishing me." As a mother I wanted to cry for her, as a daughter it opened my eyes to so much, it explained so many things that had happened in my life. I can't imagine what my mom went through, how hard it must have been. Why she left and what happened isn't my story to tell, it's my mom's, but all I know is hearing her tell me it was true, that I did have another brother was the best news I had heard in a long time.
As soon as my mom gave me his information, name, birthdate and where he lived I went to town researching. I joined the people search websites and alerted all of my facebook friends that I knew I could trust that I was on the lookout and trying to search for my new brother! I think it was within a couple of weeks that I had his work address. I wrote him a letter, (so many rough drafts, you have no idea) and the whole time I was writing it I kept thinking 'oh my God, he has to hate her, he's going to hate my mother and therfore he's not going to want anything to do with me' I prayed and wished (every day at 11:11, cause that's what my 14 year old daughter does, and she says it works). About 3 weeks later I received an email from him. In the subject line was a simple "hello". I was getting ready for bed and got the email on my phone, I looked at Chris and said "oh my God, it's him. I just got an email from Randy". I was shaking and had tears in my eyes, did not know what to expect and the first line read: "Wow! What a surprise hearing from you." I took a deep breath and thought 'well this is going better than I expected'. I don't know what I expected, but I think I kept imagining more of a "please don't ever contact me again". The rest of the email was wonderful. He was sweet, honest and totally awesome.
After the initial email we then continued emailing back and forth. Randy was always a little slower about responding than I was and each time I thought, 'ok, this is it, he changed his mind'. Then one night in March I received an email saying that he and his family (he's married and has 4 kids) were going to be in California later in the month and they would like to meet us! Yay! He wants to meet me, I haven't scared him off! I couldn't have been happier, and my kids were happy too. My mom? Totally freaked out and nervous for me. But she handled it well.
We ended up meeting them all for lunch/dinner at a restaraunt and it was wonderful. Our kids all hit it off, it really couldn't have gone better.
To say that my kids and I are happy is an understatment. We love family but we have such a little one. To have this addition to our family tree has been so great, for Randy to accept me, to not hate my Mom and to be willing to let us in is a true blessing.
This last holiday season was an absolute bummer for me, I think I cired from Thanksgiving to Christmas wishing that my kids had more cousin's that we had more family to share the holidays with. Little did I know that just around the corner they would be there. I am not sure if we will ever spend Christmas with them but we have discussed summer vacation and that? is a wonderful beginning.