A few years ago I drove up from Florida for a visit to my parents on a school holiday. After I had packed my car and was on my way out the door I was saying “Bye” to my dad and in the process I casually asked whom the pictures on his desk were of. “Oh, my first wife”, he responded in an uninterested tone. “Ok, I’ll call you when I get back home. See ya.” “Later”, he called out. I actually made it all the way down to my car and was on my way out of the driveway before it fully hit me; “My first wife”!? I quickly ran back up the steps to see what the hell he was talking about. My dad then explained to me how he had been married before to another woman and then had a divorce a year later. Let me just say that he couldn’t understand why this had struck me so hard. When I asked him why he had never told me he merely replied, “It never came up.”
Today my parents and sister came to visit me in Nevada. While everyone was going through their morning routines my mother leans towards me in her chair and says, “I have to tell you something”. After a little back and forth she tells me that she had had a child before she met my dad and had to give it up for adoption. Also, that he had recently contacted her. I have to tell you here that I used up all my disbelief those years ago on my father’s whole first marriage bit so my reaction was a lot more subdued. Still, when I asked why she had never told me the answer was, again, “It never came up.”
It never freakin’ came up! In twenty-seven years of conversations with these people you’d think that at some point the discussion would have veered close enough to make the leap to this subject, let alone crashing directly into it. That aside, I have a biological half-brother out there. Exciting news really. I read a letter he had sent and saw a picture of him and got a bit of a biography too. Interestingly he had slipped his name into the letter through random capitalized letters. I just happened to be the first one to notice this and subsequently fueled a bit of a frenzy this morning that resulted in my mother writing an email to her first son.
You know as proud as I was to have studied and become an archaeologist it ain’t shit compared to this dude. As unrealistic as this may sound to those who know me and thereby feel that anyone hindered by my family’s genetics should achieve this; I swear it’s all true. He is a PhD in atomic physics and works at a particle accelerator lab. That is a lot to meet up to, but hey maybe this is how all younger siblings feel (I’m new to that feeling).
As curious and exciting as this news is I am rather taken aback. I mean is this it? Ok, my dad had a former wife, my mom had another kid. I am terrified to talk to my grandparents. I can just imagine sitting down in their family room chatting about whatever when my grandmother lets it slip that she worked as a spy during WWII and my grandfather wasn’t really in the armed forces, he was actually a globetrotting jewel thief…”d’you want more ice tea honey?”