When I was ten I found out that I have a big sister when my mother decided to finally share that information with me and my brother. Her name was Olga and she is twelve years older than me. She is from my father's previous marriage. Won't get into too much detail to keep my family's privacy. It's my blog, not theirs.
As a ten year old I was quite excited by the idea of having a big sister. Suddenly my big thuggish brother wasn't so big. He was a whole decade younger than our older sibling. He was a middle child! I had fantasies of one day reuniting with her and doing lots of cool things together like, I don't know, stuff. But as I grew older and actually had the ability to attempt tracking her down I slowly gave up on the idea. What if she was growing up thinking the new man her mother married was her real father? What if she was happy with things just the way they were? Suddenly I'll burst into her life and dump this huge revelation on her? What if she was anti-semite? Or a homophobe? Or into Danielle Steel novels? She may share a biological father, but we weren't both raised by him. We had nothing in common. For all intents and purposes we were strangers. So I gave up on the idea entirely. Or so I thought. When asked how many siblings I had, I'd always say one brother and one half sister.
A few weeks ago my mother called and I was going to tell her excitedly how Blake's first swimming lesson went when she told me that my sister contacted them and she's a professor in university and her two children are...
I stopped her in disbelief and demanded the whole story. My sister knew about my dad and looked him up on the internet and found his brother on a Russian social networking website, who called my mother right away.
I popped onto the Russian website and created my own account there. Russian is technically my mother tongue, but I was struggling a bit, relying shamefully on Google Translate. I introduced myself, allowing myself to be a bit friendly and gushing. She did after all took the first step, so I think she deserved some warmth. She replied almost instantly and was also gushing. We hit it off and exchanged various e-mails. We both took great pleasure in calling each other "brother" and "sister".
For me the most amazing thing was the instant nephews for me and instant cousins for Blake. My nephews are fifteen and twenty one. I've been an uncle for most of my life and I didn't even know that!
I'm so grateful that she decided to track us down with the little information she had. My father has no internet presence at all and the only reason his brother was on that website for Olga to find was sheer luck. A few weeks earlier his American sister-in-law created his account for him when she was visiting.
My father and my sister have reconnected and have become great friends, that's all I'm going to say about their relationship. Olga is going to Israel to visit my dad a day before my birthday. I wish I could go, but I'm teaching during term time and I'd be just coming back from our planned trip to Canada and the US. Maybe I could see her in the summer. Saint Petersburg is not a place to visit in the winter.
I was worried for a bit about her reaction to the fact that I'm gay, as Russia isn't well known for it's tolerance of gay people. Especially since there was a silence for a couple of days after I sent her some wedding photos. I decided I had to tell her about it right away. There was no point in coming out to her months later. This is me and I'm part of this family. She wants in? This is it. Finding my sister after all these years only to be rejected by her because I'm gay was an unpleasant thought, but it turned out to be just my mind over-thinking things as usual. Olga had no problem with any of that and is delighted to find out that she is an aunt.
So I'm Olga's brother from another mother. Literally.
Gay marriage, surrogate baby, long lost sister... My life is officially a soap.
A Big Sister from Bioshock 2 (my big sister is nicer)