1:22 am - Weds 7.04.2012
As I write this, I've been at my brother Tony's house since Monday night.
Got into Dulles right on schedule, and after a brief call, a quick shuttle, and a short walk, met my brother Tony, the first blood relative I've seen in the past 50 years.
We got to his place around 10:30 pm (Part of our delay was in trying to find a place open where I could buy his wife Lori something floral - Sadly, we were not successful).
I didn't know if everyone was going to be up or not - Tony and Lori have two kids (Aaron, 8, and Trevor, 12) who I thought might be in bed - but everyone was up, pretty jazzed about my appearance (Which both amused and flattered me), and for a time, we just hung out around their kitchen table, "getting to know each other".
I wasn't hugely nervous about meeting Tony, because really, we've been "getting to know each other" for the past couple months, on Facebook and the telephone.
And really, after the letter from Lori I received a week or so before I left LA, and a subsequent conversation we had on the telephone a couple days after that, I wasn't hugely nervous about meeting her either.
But I was a little more nervous about meeting the kids.
I like kids (And see myself as being more "child-like" than your average middle-aged man).
But that said, as a single guy with, till now, no family, I haven't been around kids that much; add to that my fear that "Mr Big TV Star" would be a big letdown in real life, and I was definitely feeling a little anxious as we pulled up to their house.
I really needn't have worried - I think the same way this situation is inherently interesting and exciting to me, it's "inherently interesting and exciting" to them, to find out that, not only do they have an "Uncle Jim" they've never met, but they have an "Uncle Jim" they've never met who's an actor on television.
And I came bearing gifts; a couple days before I left, I hit a souvenir shop on Hollywood Blvd and bought a couple "Hollywood" T-shirts, which they seemed to get a big kick out of.
Aaron was especially excited about the situation - which I think is part of his personality in general - and wanted to stay up with Me and Tony after Lori and Trevor had gone to bed (Tony, like Yours Truly, is a night-owl who doesn't get a lot of sleep - though unlike Yours Truly, he doesn't seem to suffer over it like I do...Or possibly, he's just not as big a baby about it as I am).
Long story short, they are about the nicest family you'd ever want to meet.
And they're mine.
(Pretty cool, huh?)
And yesterday was the meeting, a meeting that's been a lifetime in the making...
I'm sleeping in Trevor's room, and though I'd actually woken up at 6:00 am - after an even-more-fitful-than-normal night's sleep - I stayed in bed as long as I could, hoping to get a little more sleep - I didn't want to meet Mom "at half-mast" if I could help it.
So anyway, by the time I got up for good, we had breakfast, and I took a shower, it was after 11:00 am.
She wasn't supposed to come over, I'd thought, till 12:30, but as I was getting dressed for the day, Tony knocked on the door and said, "Your Mother's here".
I finished getting dressed, and took a few moments to compose myself, taking note of the time - 11:30 - as I walked out the door and into the kitchen.
Lori's sister Karen was also there, with two of her children (Morgan and Brandon); I was, for a moment, disappointed about that...but after the fact, I think it all worked out fantastically well.
My Mother's back was to me as I walked into the kitchen, so she had to turn around to face me, and when she did, we clearly both had an awkward moment or two as we greeted each other and tried to negotiate the moment (For the record, I don't really remember what I said, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't anything particularly memorably or witty).
I can't really describe how I felt - emotional, to be sure, but not like I was going to cry or anything (Honestly? If that had happened, I would have been absolutely horrified).
I'd already decided, going in, that I didn't want to start "interrogating" her first thing - she's spent a lifetime being the person who hasn't wanted to talk about this stuff - and having a number of other people there in the room I think both reinforced that feeling, and helped keep things on a more "even keel" emotionally.
So basically, just like when I met Tony's family Monday night, the group of us were just chatting around the kitchen table (though I know we were both periodically "sneaking peaks" at each other when we thought the other person wasn't looking).
I can't produce a transcript of what we talked about, but I know I talked about being an actor in LA for a bit, we talked about Craig (Her roommate), and we talked politics for awhile, which I thought helped us bond - Lori had told me my Mom and Tony argue politics a lot (He leans right, she leans left), and it seemed like she was enjoying having someone of like mind in the "fight" (And the "fighting" was pretty good naturde, with Tony having some laughs at our expense, and vice-versa).
Me and Tony talked about it afterward, and agreed that it had gone very well - I don't think we would have had anything like a "bonding experience" if, as I joked to Tony, "I'd gotten out my steno pad and said, 'Mom, I've prepared some questions for the occasion...'".
Instead, we sat around the kitchen table and talked, and argued, and laughed, and learned things about each other.
I definitely hope we will have some time together where I can ask some questions - because God knows I have questions - and I hope she'll be open to it.
But today was a good opening.
But it's closing in on 3:00 am, and I should get to bed - I'd like to be awake for the big holiday BBQ, which I guess is going to start around noon-ish.
It's going to be interesting to see how the rest of my time here plays out...
0 comments so far