Tuesday, March 16, 2010
100 Blog Challenge - #16 - Finding My Long Lost Brother
I called my brother Robert last night for the first time in almost three years. That's right I have a third brother. I don't talk about him much on my blog or twitter or Facebook. We're not that close. We should be but we're not.
Just like my other two brothers, Daniel and Scott, he's also a half brother. He's my fathers son. He's 26, will be 27 this October and lives in California. I haven't seen him since I went home for Christmas in 2007. In fact I can't even remember if we've talked since that short visit in Costa Mesa.
It was the night of my birthday dinner. I had just finished dining with my mom, step dad, Daniel, Scott, Grandma Sue, girlfriend Lisa and a few of her friends. Robert was driving in from Apple Valley with a friend - a four hour drive just to see me. He was lost, driving in circles in Costa Mesa and had pulled into a motel parking lot to rest until I could drive to him.
I remember pulling into the back of the parking lot and seeing him get out of the car. And there he was in all his 6'3" glory. Blonde hair, blue eyes and so happy to see his big sister. We talked for a few minutes. It was cold. Lisa was impatient. I had plans to be at a friends house. So we stood there in the parking lot and caught up on years and years worth of news in 20 minutes. Then I gave him $20 bucks for gas and we parted ways.
A part of me died when I left him in that parking lot knowing he was just going to turn around and drive back four hours to Apple Valley to a life of nothing going nowhere. I wanted to scream come with me back to Texas. Come live with me and go to school and let me help you. Let me show you how to have a better life. Anything is better than what you're living now. But instead I just drove away and waved as my car passed his in the parking lot.
We haven't spoken since then. I've tried to call the cell phone number that I had for him but I have a sneaking suspicion I have been leaving random voicemails on someone else's inbox. I tried the old email address I had for him but no response. Then last night I got up the courage to call my step mom Dixie.
This is the woman I have avoided calling all these years. The woman who brings up painful memories of my father and his death whenever I call. But she's also the woman I knew would know how to get in contact with her son, my brother, my Robert. So I called. And she answered. She indeed had a number to where Robert was living and gladly passed it on saying he'll be so happy to hear from you.
I took a deep breath and called Robert. A machine picked up. So I started to leave a message - Hello this is Natalie Tejeda can you please tell her brother Robert Tejeda to give her a call at ------ Holy F**k how the hell are you - my brother excitedly said as he picked up the line.
And that's how our hour and a half conversation started. We talked about life, love, relationships, hardships, work, coming out to visit me in Texas, his going back to school, my stepbrother Scott, my stepsister Paula and my whole gaggle of now grown and teenage nieces and nephews. We laughed about how we've each been trying to track each other down and that it should be easier to keep in better contact now that we're Facebook friends. But just in case we exchanged cell phone numbers.
By the end of our conversation I had a much lighter heart knowing that my little Robert, ok, my gentle giant of a brother Robert was eking along in life but starting to head in the right direction. That he had a little direction for what seemed like the first time in his adult life.
I slept easy knowing that through extending the olive branch and doing a little digging I was able to reconnect to someone very important in my life. Someone who deserves much more than just a quick chat and a $20 spot to get home safely. Someone like Robert, my blood, my brother.