If someone were to say to you, “Congratulations are in order, I have a new brother!” You might imagine a baby. A year ago I got a new brother who was 41 years old.
In July of 2019, I was contacted via email by someone I had never heard of who said basically, “Hi, I’m your brother.” Tanner took a DNA test in early 2019 just for fun. The results were shocking to him, even though he admitted that he grew up looking so different from his brother that for years he had been subjected to jokes about being the mailman’s son.
His family was more than he thought. After some serious detecting, he found my brother, Travis, and me online. On Facebook he clicked the man identified as Travis’ father just to see if that connection would offer up any more family links he could follow, but when the photo came up it was like looking in a mirror. He reached out to Trav and me, and the three of us siblings communicated while Tanner tried to get more of the story while protecting his parents. After many emotional months, Tanner now has the support of his mom and dad and has been actively reaching out to his Trulove family.
Though the news was clearly a shock (please let’s all virtually hug his wife who supported him through what must have been a challenging year), Tanner is the kind of guy who loves people and especially loves family. He is thrilled to have a bigger family than he thought. He is a compassionate, intelligent, loving man with a beautiful, smart wife and intelligent, kind-hearted kids.
Right away, we found out that we both like to write. Or, at least it seemed that way when we kept sending three-page emails back and forth. Travis is also a writer. Our shared bio-dad, Steve, is also a writer. Huh. Go figure. I also discovered with distinct pleasure that Tanner is hilarious. He is seriously one of the funniest people I know. He’s an avid outdoorsman (his whole family hunts and fishes) and so to mix his lifestyle with humor and writing means that during 2019 I got some pretty awesome funny email stories about moose and goat hunting. His stuff would easily rival Patrick McManus if he would stop hunting and fishing long enough to write more. He’s just a kid though, at 42, and will likely become more famous than Mr. McManus after he gets older and slower.
We met for the first time in July 2019, when Tanner was traveling to southern Oregon from his home near Missoula, Montana. We met up outside of Portland. We were both really nervous and really excited. It went well and I felt no awkwardness. It’s sorta been like that from day one. Tanner and I are peas in a pod and I wish we had known each other for 40 years. This guy would have been so much fun for Travis and me to grow up with.
He’s serious about meeting the family. Tanner has met an uncle, two aunts, cousins, and Travis and Travis’s family. Only a few weeks ago: the Big One. Tanner met Steve for the first time. I can hardly wait till Tara meets him.
When I first saw a photo of my brother on facebook, I was astonished at how he looks so much like my Pa. When I met him in July, I was astonished again at how his gestures are the same gestures that my Pa makes when he tells a story. The way he pauses when telling a story, the way he grins for effect, the way he touches his dinner plate while talking, the way he moves his hand…it’s all exactly like my Pa, and not like anyone else. Gestures are inherited? I never, ever would have guessed that.
So anyway, on August 7th I went to Montana to meet the rest of his family; my brand new sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. It was a great trip and I love them more than ever now that I know them better. I was just sitting down to write about it, when I realized I hadn’t told you guys yet! I waited because his family needed to get used to the idea first. The right time didn’t come till now. I am so excited to introduce you to my new brother.