Man, I'm jazzed! My brother (the "good" one who works for one of those big government law enforcement agencies) is coming for a surprise visit to see The Girl today. I've seen him briefly the past 2 or 3 summers when I was in DC for school events, but The Girl hasn't seen him since she was about 9 or 10, although they email and he sends her goofy pictures of himself fighting bad guys all over the world. Politics & religion aside (sadly, he's afflicted with both), he's a great guy: sweet, funny and wikkid smahhht like his older sister.
A little backstory seems in order here. My mother divorced our father and moved to Texas when I was about 15 months old. Because he didn't pay child support -ever (a tradition he carried on with my younger siblings as well), she gave him the option of jail or signing away his rights when I was about 3 or 4, which he did. Mom's second husband then adopted me so I'd have the same last name as the rest of the family. Interestingly, one of my earliest memories is sitting in the courtroom during the adoption proceedings. Even though Mom has been divorced from the second husband and been remarried for 10 years, he's the man who raised me and the one I refer to as my Dad.
Sometime after my adoption, my father remarried and had 3 other children. Although they grew up knowing they had an older sister, until I was 22 and married I had no idea I had siblings, other than the personality-disordered son Mom had with Dad. My sister, then about 17 and living in Oregon with her mom & stepdad's family, sent me a letter in hopes of building a relationship with me. (Given our father's history, she and I suspect there may be other siblings floating around somewhere that we don't know about.)
So within a couple of months of my receiving that letter, the brother under discussion today was graduating from high school. His step-grandparents lived in Dallas and his graduation gift from them and his mom & stepdad was a trip to Texas to hang out with the grandparents for a week and to meet and hang out with me for a week. It was really neat. Of course when my sisters graduated over the next couple of years, they wanted the same trip. Even though we weren't raised together, there are a lot of personality similarities between us, so it's not awkward to be together. I am sad that I missed out on so much of their lives and that I never got to fight with my sisters over the bathroom or the phone, and don't have embarassing stories to tell about them from when they were growing up, but we've been making up for lost time in the last 18 years and it's good. The best part is that when we do have an opportunity to hang, the party is on, just like I like it.
So my brothers are totally unrelated to each other and my sisters are only related to one of my brothers and I may indeed be my own Grandpa. We don't have a family tree...we have a family lawn. The roots ain't too deep, but it just keeps spreading ;o)