New Brother

Tanner and me a week and a half ago.

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.

The day Tanner and I met each other.

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.

Steve Trulove, before he retired from the U.S. Forest Service
Steve and Tanner, meeting for the first time. Look at those two, both skinny, both in ballcaps.

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.

20 thoughts on “New Brother

  1. Wow this is crazy cool! What a beautiful thing to have happen – to find a brother – and the naturalness and joy was felt in the photos
    Also – I ya wheats about mannerisms being shared (like with twin studies and also from other examples)
    Best to all

    1. I agree; it IS crazy cool! While I was visiting this month, Tanner’s wife asked me what it had been like to learn about them, and if I was ok with getting them all as family, unexpectedly. I said it had been great to discover that a previously unknown brother w/family were people who were so wonderful. They could have been any kind of people, but are funny, and loving, and welcoming, and all so successful. She responded the same way, that they felt lucky to get surprise family that they really liked too. It made me feel so good.

      1. and it made me feel good to read about this experience – sometimes real life is better than fiction! ha
        and wishing you a nice weekend

    1. Thanks Andrew. There were some crazy times last year, stressing out while Tanner tried to figure out who in his family knew, and how to tell the ones who didn’t. But now, it’s all good. And those wild times are what make it a great story, ha ha.

    1. Derrick, it really is. These surprises about family are happening more and more now that DNA testing is available to more people. I am grateful that my surprise family actually made everything even better.

    1. That’s a good point, Jenny. We can use good news right now and this is really good news. You’re right about Tara, who IS excited. One of these days I’ll get Tara and Tanner’s family together.

  2. What an incredible journey it has been! I’m so lucky to have met my new family, especially New Sis. Excellent blog post as usual, Crystal! Thanks for all the kind words about me…I think your readers are buying it πŸ™‚ It was great hanging out with you in Montana and can’t wait to do it again and finally meet Tara! I’ll provide the Jordanian port wine next time.

    1. I’ll hold you to that Jordanian port wine! Yes, I think my readers are buying my story that you are a great guy. I’ve worked hard to gain their trust, just for this very moment. I’ve got your back. πŸ˜‰ I had so much fun in Montana. You’ll be showing up in my next coupla’ posts, too.

  3. Crystal, it was truly my pleasure to get to meet you…although it was too brief! Next time, I will tweak my work schedule so I can spend more time with you. I’m so happy you and Tanner have been able to get to know each other. We are a lucky family!

    And you hit the nail on the head with Tanner’s writing ability. Who knew that humorous writing was a genetic ability too?!?

    Lots of love to you!

    1. Love right back atcha’ Laurie. I didn’t realize you guys were going to comment on this post, and I think it’s pretty cool that you did. I agree that we didn’t get enough time together. I don’t blame you for going to work and saving lives while Tanner and I played. Somebody had to be responsible that weekend… ha ha. You all made me feel wanted and appreciated and I loved staying in your home. I look forward to my next trip to Montana. ❀

  4. Oh Crystal! I’m so excited for you and congrats and the additional family. Wow!!! He looks like your dad and you. Incredible. You have had a very busy year in spite of this crazy covid thing. Truly happy for all of you. And yes, mannerisms are inherited. How wonderful to find anyone with a good sense of humor.

    1. That photo with us where I’m wearing the butterfly shirt was taken by a couple who passed us in the parking lot at McMenamin’s Edgefield. We told them we were brother and sister and that we had just met, and the woman taking the photo said, “You look alike!” But I didn’t really believe her. I’ll believe you though, because you know my face well. Leave it to you to know that mannerisms are inherited too. You have such depths of knowledge of the human condition. ❀

      I have had an extremely busy year. One of the most amazing, wonderful, busy, anxiety-inducing, empowering years of my life. πŸ™‚ Because of this: https://www.gofundme.com/f/natives-helping-natives

    1. Tanner is a good man. It was a hard year for him, and just fascinating to me. I didn’t have anything on the line except if it all worked out, maybe getting a new cool brother. Tanner discovered this news himself, and then had to figure out how to ask his parents what they knew. That sounds incredibly stressful. But it all worked out well, and there’s tons of love to go around still, and I got some more family. ❀

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