Yes, it’s true. I’ve known about you since I was seven. I was sitting on a black couch with my mother when she handed me a file folder with documents about our father. In it, there were two photos. One of him, one of you three.
I understand you have only known about me for maybe ten years. I just found out this weekend that you even knew I existed. Maybe you had a similar feeling as I did. I felt like the ceiling was coming down on me. I found out that the guy I thought was my father wasn’t and that another man was instead, and he had three sons.
What I found so interesting about it all is that I am technically just as blood related to you as I am to my sister, whom I shared a room with and was my best friend. We played barbies together and told secrets and she taught me how to shave my legs. We, too, had different fathers.
So, since I was seven, I’ve known I was a surprise of mass proportions and that it was OK. I didn’t really set out to find out who my biological father was because I had a dad. Joe took care of me, took me to school, made me breakfast and did all the things a dad should do. So I wasn’t in the market for a new one, and I didn’t really care to add to an already growing collection.
Brother, I know you don’t owe me anything. Any of you. As kids, we just did what we were told and we never asked to have complications set in. We couldn’t control the actions of our parents and life is what it is. But I’m not a bad person, and I’m sure you all are not either.
I was born in Minneapolis not far from where you grew up. I lived there for a few years until we moved to Pennsylvania. We lived here a few years before we went back home for another couple of years, then we finally settled in Clarion, a small town north of Pittsburgh. Needless to say, we moved around a lot. I graduated in 2003. I am 28 years old. I spent a few years in the Army. I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 15 in a parking lot behind my house. I like to draw portraits. I have six tattoos. I don’t consider myself to fit into any prefabbed mold. I am oddly good at rollerblading. I have four kids. I got married in 2006. My husband is a good, honest man. I love to work out probably more than I should. I secretly want to be a general contractor. I like to rearrange my house a lot. I’ve run a marathon and three half marathons and countless other races. I have a dog and two cats. I have a big sister, and two little step brothers. When I was 15 my best friend died and it changed my whole outlook on life. I was a cheerleader in high school, but I swear I wasn’t one of the annoying ones. My biggest regret in life so far is that I’m only fluent in English. I’m a nurse and a fitness instructor and mother. I’m a kind, caring and honest person. I raise my kids with the same ideals that I believe in, which is to always treat others with kindness and the benefit of the doubt. To not judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes, and to always treat others with respect.
Listen, I’m not perfect. Not in the least bit. Mostly, I have no expectations as to where this will go, if anywhere, and that’s OK. It really is.
I just wanted you to know in my own words who your sister is. I hate that life has, once again, been turned briefly upside down. I know that we’re all in different places in life and things like this are never convenient. It is what it is. Just know I’m here, I’m real and I’m not so bad.
No one ever said you got to pick your family, but sometimes it’s nice to know about them.
So for what it’s worth, I’m glad I know that you know about me.