On the way back to Australia, we decided to go via Melbourne and visit the kids. I had received a message via fb, 'Hi I am one of your brothers, my name is Josè...' such a simple statement, but so profound. I had already decided that if any of my siblings wanted to meet me, I would definitely find a way to make that happen, so Josè was the first brother in Australia to reach out.
It's a strange feeling knowing that you are connected, but not knowing that person. We have the same father, different mothers, but that makes us family. Even though I really wanted to meet, it was still a terrifying thought. What would he be like? What if he hated me? I needed back up for this quest, so I asked my kids if they wanted to come along.
Chaylon (my second son), answered with a definite and positive yes. Jordan (the first born), was more hesitant, he thought it was all a bit weird, but not willing to be outdone by his brother, he decided he was coming, and my daughter (the baby of the family), was in, if everyone else was going. So the fearless team of me, mum, Jordan, Chaylon, Shaleel & Whitney (Chaylon's girlfriend), where all set to meet my new found brother, Josè.
I arranged with Josè to meet at a shopping centre, somewhere in the middle of where we were and where he was. We were to meet in the food court and while we were waiting, I decided to eat noodles. We were siting at the table looking around at every person who could be a possibility. Then mum says, 'that's him over there, he's heading our way'. I'm like, 'how do you know it's him', 'cause you walk like him', was her response. Seriously, I couldn't see it!
But sure enough over he came, with his son and daughter. They all sit down, a little nervous and scared and I'm like, 'why am I the only one eating? Don't you guys want some food?'. Josè answered, very seriously, 'I can't eat all that stuff, I'm a vegetarian'. I looked over this māori boy and thought, there is no way he's a vegetarian. Anyway, Whitney pipes up, 'really? are you really a vegetarian?' and Josè shoots back real quick, 'What? You think I'm too fat to be a vegetarian?' and him and I burst out laughing! In fact we spent the next hour laughing, joking and hacking on everyone.
It was an amazing experience. Such a nice guy, such a beautiful family. All the kids met, shook hands awkwardly and made pleasantries, while Josè and I just cracked jokes and laughed.
Everybody responds differently when they find out their family has skeletons in the cupboard, especially when the skeleton wants to meet. Not everybody is so easy with the news and not everybody wants to know. For some, their lives are just too busy, or they have their own stuff going on and they just can't make room, but for others, it's no big deal at all. It was a pleasure to meet Josè and I hope we stay in contact. Now, on to tougher territory... the girls, this will take some courage!