I’m about 3 hours away from meeting my brother for the first time. I’m typing this on the flight, on my laptop, as I’ve been so crazy at the office that I haven’t had a minute lately to really sit down and think about what’s about to happen.
I emailed Corey a couple weeks ago to ask him if he was around. We were supposed to finally meet last month in Miami, but he didn’t make it down. Since I needed to be in Cali next week (I have an event in San Fran), I offered to come to San Diego if he was around and couldn’t make the trip to San Francisco. He wrote back right away that he would make it happen. So that was that. I don’t think, after all these years of talking and thinking about meeting, that either one of us thought it was really going to happen this time.
But here I am. After 30 years of being alive with another part of me out in the world, I’m meeting my brother. I think I’m lucky. Most people were too young to really remember everything about how they felt and everything they thought when they first met their sibling. I have the whole weight of making a conscious decision to meet him here with me.
I have a brother.
Even though I’ve been in and out of touch with him most of my life, it still feels like make-believe to say “brother.”
Our lives were so disjointed. The simple concept that we could have a sibling seems foreign. No wonder we push it off and don’t think about it much. It makes the head spin. He was raised in California, me, I was raised in Florida – both raised by our parents’ parents. I know we got a few shared traits from our mother, but outside of that I think I’ll find out we’re incredibly different people based on how we were raised (and how we weren’t).
About the things we got from our time in the womb:
Love of music – ridiculous attachment to rhythms and beats, melodies, harmony, footsteps, finger-drumming and drum rolls. We love music down to the tips of our toes and we got it from our mama. She sang and continues to sing at every opportunity. Mostly karaoke in her home with a little mic and her very own karaoke machine. And she got it from my grandpa, the man I love most in the world, who got his love of piano from our great-grandpa, who probably brought it with him from our native shores in Italy.
The gift of writing – I may not seem eloquent now, as a peck away at a keyboard at 30,000 feet on 2 hours sleep. But our mother was a prodigious poet. She has huge reams and binders of the poetry. I can’t remember her not writing. The writing has been the third person in the room with us and our mother, in absence of father or sister or normalcy. She has always written, and both Corey and I write.
Whatever personalities we present to the world, I think we do share a certain quietness or somberness that comes from having dealt with this huge rift in our family throughout our lives.
I don’t know if Corey resents not having had his little sister around. I get the feeling that he probably wanted to play that role for me, be a big protector. I don’t resent not having him there. But I’ve felt a pang sometimes when thinking about other people’s big brothers and what it might have been like to grow up with mine.
I wonder what it will be like to see him as a real person, and not a piece of paper or a voice over a phone on the other side of my world. I wonder what he looks like now, what he eats. I love that when I asked him what he wanted to do this weekend, the first thing was about his favorite brunch spot near the beach. I can totally get down with that. I remember he used to love Tribe Called Quest – I wonder if he still does.
I wonder if he’ll be shy, and how heavy the conversation will get. I have a lot of questions about what went down with him and Mom right before she was pregnant with me. And if things happened the same way with him as they did with me. I want to know what his dad’s like, and if he’s still close with him. I wonder if I’ll meet any of his family or friends. It’s just really trippy sitting here now.
I think it’ll be cool. But I’ve always felt like an only child. I was the youngest for a few years at the beginning in foster care, the only when living with my Mom and then my grandparents, then the oldest during my teen years, when I was with my aunt and uncle and they had my little cousins. But I’ve always kind of identified as an only child. I think meeting Corey and really internalizing that I have another piece of me floating around out there could change how I feel. I might not float so much.
Can’t wait to see his face. See what my big brother looks like.
I took a video of the few minutes in the airport leading up to and seeing my brother for the first time. Watch it below, and stay tuned for photos and another post about our meeting.