How are we? In my part of the world it’s a beautiful, sunny day and it seems open for possibilities.
Sometimes, I share my personal life on here. So if you want to avoid those posts…you can delete now and scroll past. :)
I share as a way to document. I also can only be real in my life. I won’t remember specific dates. This blog originally started as a personal space. Now it’s both. I could be wrong but I think it makes it more real- relatable.
I am still kind of reeling from some good news in my life.
I have another brother. His name is Jake. ( for the record this is one of my favorite names. It was always on my list of baby names when I was pregnant but never made it to the final stage of agreement…funny?)
I knew he existed. He didn’t know about us. I know you have probably heard this news before. This isn’t the first brother to pop up in my life.
My father is an unregulated schizophrenic. He has zero self control and he runs in circles with like minded people. So I honestly have no idea how many children that he has. He doesn’t know. But he knew about 3-4 of us. He married my mother because he thought I was the first one (we have since learned that isn’t the case)….and I was her first child. So I think they were probably made to be married. But it didn’t last long. My mother had her next child 14 months later and he has a different father than I do…..so given the math …neither of them wanted to be married to each other. My father was 17 when they got together and she was 19. So on top of drugs, mental illness and age….this is just a hot mess. It never got better for either of them, quite frankly.
I have my DNA submitted to Ancestry and 23 & me. After my brother Aaron came into my life he took an Ancestry test to confirm we were siblings. I have actually had to ask other people to take a test and they weren’t a match. I have actually had to be very firm with someone and tell them we aren’t related. Who wants to be a part of this gene pool? Given a choice…probably not me. Seriously? I have had to live with schizophrenia hanging over me my whole life. It has formed many choices in my life. I have never smoked one cigarette or tried one drug. Ever. Never even curious. I would have never risked that. When I had my children it was a top concern for me. Should I even take a risk of bringing that into the world? Obviously, I decided to take that chance and hope that if it arises I would have the ability to rise to the occasion. We all take risks in our lives. Wanting to be a mother superseded the fear.
Aaron found us and got tested. LOL. I decided that I would submit my DNA to 23 & me just in case. My father didn’t know Aaron existed. But he knew about Jake. He knew his full name ect but Jake was adopted by a different man. My father signed over his rights. He knew that they weren’t going to tell Jake that he was adopted. So we just let it go….until now. Jake turned in his DNA and we were matched on his 40th birthday.
He contacted me right away.
I would have waited forever for him to contact me because I already knew that he didn’t know about us. So I would have let him process in his way before inserting myself. Thankfully, he had already found out and it wasn’t a complete shock.
I won’t publicly post all of his info or anything. I am sharing this to tell you how I feel about all of this. I just felt like I needed to give a little history so this doesn’t seem completely off.
Through Ancestry and 23 and me. I have discovered that I favor my father’s side of the family. I am in the unique situation that my brother from my mother’s side also put his DNA in the database ( to find out who his Father is) and he is a closer match to all my my mother’s relatives and we don’t share as many traits as I do with my father’s side. Both of these brothers ( on my father’s side) are closer matched to me than the brother that I grew up with. Jake and I even have a closer match than Aaron and I.
Aaron and I have a few similar features and odd quirks that have to be due to DNA. We can sit down in a restaurant that we have never been and we will order the same food. Without talking about it. In fact I like sitting next to him when we are together because we will often share parts of our plates because we want to try so many of the same things. haha! When I met Aaron I knew that part of that hole in me was filled and that I knew who I was and what was missing. We bonded right away. We just knew. Daily talking and sharing. We live a few states apart so we planned several vacations together to build those shared experiences. We really just wanted to be together and share our lives.
When you have a father who is not himself….and you can’t relate to your mother. I have been the oddball my whole life. I liked foods nobody else would touch in my family. I was made fun of for always being in my head, day dreaming. I was always the odd one that didn’t fit in. For many reasons. I look like my dad…and I have his coloring. My mother’s side aren’t nurturer’s. No affection. They certainly couldn’t have animals. Those were a burden and easily disposable. I didn’t develop a relationship with animals until I was an adult. My dad’s mother loved animals. She always had them…even when she went motor homing across the country she took her dogs and cat. She would always grab me in a big hug. She was loud and boisterous. My dad is similar -but it all depends on his disorder. Learning when parts of him are with us and which part is not him. As a kid that is hard to decipher. I also didn’t grow up with him. He wrote letters and phone calls. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I had visits. So as I got to know some of these things I started picking up some of the pieces of myself. Getting to know Aaron has been super good for me. He and I are both feeling-talkers …so we share a lot. It’s just easy for me. That has probably been the easiest relationship of my life. No awkwardness. No explaining myself. No adjustment. Just clicked and bonded. I was scared it wasn’t real in the beginning because it seemed too easy. I had thought about keeping a distance and pushed that thought away…simply because if it was that easy….something had to be wrong. Or maybe he would get sick of me and ditch me. I would be wounded. Thankfully, none of those things have ever been an issue. I will always choose to love and show up with my whole heart rather than protect myself ( despite some negative thoughts) because I can’t have regrets. All or nothing…they will show up or they won’t. They will accept me and love me or they won’t. I have faults but I am also worth investing in. simple. I will invest my whole heart. Even if I am bossy and opinionated.
Jake came in this week and I can already see how much we have in common. Aaron, myself and Jake all favor mastiffs. We all have them. How freaky is that? It’s not like it’s a common dog like a lab….our favorite breeds are mastiffs and we all have them. We all love our animals. I saw Jake’s face and I felt like I was staring into my own eyes. ( mine are a little worse for the wear and show my age a little more than his) but I recognized them immediately. His coloring is like dad and I. His demeanor and the way he talks. We all have the same political beliefs. Which our dad has as well. Jake and I are always in our own heads. We are daydreamers. I explain the way my brain works to people and they typically don’t get it…Jake and I are the same in that way. There is something so familiar and comforting about that. Knowing that you are not alone.
Other than my children actually, seeing people who look like me…have my traits is unfamiliar. I have been taken back by that. I also don’t actually have a child that looks overwhelmingly like me. None of my kids are cookie cutter kids…they are a mix of their parents. Sometimes you see families and you know that all of those kids belong together because they are cut from the same cutter, right? Even my 3 boys who came from the same 2 parents…they don’t look alike.
One of the favorite qualities of my father is that he is so giving. Honestly, he owns nothing. He is a wreck but he will give anyone anything he has. No strings attached. Material things do not matter to him at all. He gives freely of everything. There is nothing he won’t share or talk about. He is thankful for little things. I see that in all of us. Not to the extreme so much ….But I think all 3 of us are giving, forgiving and we tolerate a ton of madness. God had a plan in that.
I could go on and on about things we have in common. There are also uncommon things. What I find fascinating about all of this is how we are only half siblings but so much alike. We didn’t grow up with each other and we have similar facial expressions, tastes, mannerisms and philosophies. There is something about DNA and this whole Nature verse Nurture thing. In my experiences….Nature Trumps Nurture. but I know it’s not that way for everyone.
So by these 2 guys finding me ..I am learning about myself. Every time I get another piece of myself. I wonder how other people internalize these things? People who grow up in a family where everyone is present …do you question who you are at all? Is this all something that is taken for granted? Do normal people go through this process? I remembering during a therapy session with my favorite counselor ( I have been seeing him for 17 years now) and he told me that I need to quilt trying to fix myself. There was nothing wrong with me. When I grew up I was told that all of these things were wrong. That the day dreaming and being in my head was wrong. I was told that art could never be my profession. I was told that I was going to be a schizophrenic..it was just a matter of time. All of those things shaped me…They made me very aware of some of my behaviors. I have lived in fear. These guys didn’t grow up with that hanging over them. Yet, they were still isolated for some of the same things. the world looks at us differently because some of these things that we come by naturally.
I have been able to create a living by daydreaming, creating and living in my own reality. I have proven myself over and over again. I have made better choices in my life than any of the people who were supposed to be trusted to take care of me. I was smarter, had more determination and grit than they could handle. I will attribute that to DNA and good old hard headed-stubborn. My Grandma always told me that I would make it because I was stubborn like her. She was …and she’s right.
I have been kind of emotional (more than usual) for the last few days. I can’t articulate exactly what I am feeling. I feel like another piece of me has come to me and I am excited for this new chapter. My heart is full, swollen and it grew another size or 2….:) ( Good Ole Dr. Seuss!)
I am so excited to meet him in person ….he lives across the country but coming for a visit in a few months. I have a feeling that I will have to reign myself in and not get to far ahead of myself. But I hope all of the magic happens twice.
So in this broken family of mine….comes beauty, hope, love, acceptance and experiences that I can’t fully grasp right now. I will take the good with the bad. That’s just life. It’s all worth it.
Go out today with a full heart. It’s worth it.