I was shocked when, in response to my letter, I gained a whole new family. They didn't hate me, and they did want me around and to get to know me.
I knew very little about them. I knew I had 2 brothers and a sister that I hadn't met. I knew that my biological dad lived in North Carolina and was married. That's about it. My grandma, my mom's mom, saved anything from the newspaper that had to do with my dad's side of the family, so I got obituaries and wedding announcements sometimes.
So I met them when I was 19. Sometimes it has been awkward and sometimes it has been terrifying and hard. Sometimes it is sad. I love my dad and I feel bad that I missed out on 19 years with him. I adore my siblings (I actually have 3 brothers and 3 sisters) and I feel bad that I didn't get a childhood with them. But I am trying to make up for lost time.
When I first met my eldest brother, he was 13. Now he is 19 and leaving for the Perth, Australia LDS mission on Wednesday. We both lived out of Utah for a while, so we didn't really start hanging out until we were both moved back here 2 years ago. But we have crammed a lot of hanging out and bonding time in the last 2 years! And here is what I have learned.
My brother Daniel is one amazing guy.
I didn't know that teenage boys could be so mature or so intelligent. I thought they were all kind of morons. Well, Daniel impresses me on a daily basis. He took my expectation of "teenager boy" and beat them into a pulp (his brother Scott did the same thing, actually.) He is basically a genius and takes computers apart and fixes them for fun. He's done all sorts of trades and swaps to get different parts so he could put together epic things. He builds robots and wants to go into robotics someday. He speaks Computer with Hawk all the time. He loved marching band in high school and plays the clarinet beautifully. He sings very well too.
Daniel has a wonderful sense of humor. He is a geek, but he's not a creepy geek. He likes Dr. Who and got me addicted to it. He loves dragons and I shared the movie Dragonheart (great show!) with him. It's neat that we like the same things. It's funny to me that we are so much alike despite not growing up together.
Daniel is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. He is a very brave young man. He is determined to keep himself clean and to hold himself to his very high standards, and that is impressive to me. He works hard - like, crazy hard. He worked construction for a while, and most recently he was working at Target during their holiday season. He would go to work at crazy hours in the morning (like at 3:30 a.m.) and get off work very late at night. And get up the next morning and do it again. The days he had off, he would volunteer at the Bishop's Storehouse. I mean seriously, this is one dedicated kid.
One of the things that impresses me most about Daniel is how well he plays with Sparrow. I have never met a boy who wasn't at least a little intimidated by kids, and Daniel isn't at all. He is so cute with Sparrow. Sparrow adores him. Daniel came over a few days ago and built Sparrow a marble run and Sparrow cried and cried when he had to put it away that night. We love uncle Daniel! He is so fun to be around.
Daniel is a spiritual giant. He is kind, thoughtful, caring. He thinks about other people and considers their feelings. He's very handsome, too. Just had to throw that in there.
I am so proud of my little brother. He is a wonderful young man and I know he is going to do great things with his life. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know him and that we have become close. I am glad to count him among my friends. I love him very much and I am going to miss him like crazy! Good luck on your mission Daniel. You will be great! Remember how much Sparrow, Hawk and I love you and we'll have an amazing epic movie party when you come home.
(Your Favorite Older Sister. Booyah.)