There is something about me that many people don't know. I have a half brother who lives in Germany. That in itself isn't so unusual. What IS unusual is that I didn't know he existed until I was an adult. I was out of school and married with a family of my own.
My entire life I was a Daddy's girl. Always. Up until this revelation, I was under the impression that I was his only child. He was a step father to my other half-siblings: Susie, Bobby and Mike. He was wonderful to them and they loved him. But, I always knew I was the apple of his eye. Always. I'm ashamed to admit that when I first found out about Peter, I had my nose pushed out of joint for a bit. All of a sudden I wasn't the center of his universe. What a selfish way to think! Here I was, living with my Dad while growing up, and I was jealous of my newfound brother, who hadn't grown up with him. How self-centered and selfish of me. Luckily, these feelings changed within a few days, and no-one (other than my husband) knew how I felt.
It DID explain a lot of things to me. My Dad took on a widow with 3 children when he married my mother, who never worked outside the home (other than being the lunch lady at a grade school for a little spending money and something to do). He treated those 3 kids with love and respect and made many sacrifices for them. My brother, Mike, was sick a lot, and my Dad took care of him. In my mind, it made sense. He was taking care of Mike, and he was hoping that Peter was being taken care of as well.
I'm sure leaving Peter in Germany, and returning to the US was very hard. It was 1960, and my Dad was in the Air Force. He had to return to the states, and his mother (a widow with several other children) could not leave her country. There was no bad blood between them, but she said she would not send her son across the world to visit and have him grow up splitting his time. My Dad said he wasn't even sure that Peter knew about him.
When Peter was engaged to be married, a friend of his mother's contacted my Dad and said that Peter wanted to meet him. My Dad was thrilled. My Mother, whom he met after Peter was born, had known about him the whole time. My Dad and I made a trip to Germany shortly after that, and his family was wonderful to us. They opened up their homes and their hearts and they were amazing to us.
I am thinking of all this now, because my brother Peter is visiting from Germany right now. I am sitting here with both of them and my heart is full.
I have lost my other siblings. Mike passed away 7 years ago, and I lost Bobby and then Susie in the last year. So, my message to everyone who reads this is, love your family. Cherish your differences and celebrate the fact that you are connected by love. Blood doesn't make a family, love does !