Several people have been amazed by the fact that I could spend an entire week with my half-brother, essentially a complete stranger up until 3 months ago, in my house. Even some of our family members seemed a bit concerned prior to the visit– worried that we would not get along, or that being in the same house for such a long period of time might be a bother. What everyone seems to be missing is that the inconvenience was NOT having him in my life all these years.

Since we did not grow up together, we do not have any of the baggage that most siblings seem to carry with them from the past. We are meeting as adults, with a completely clean slate when it comes to our own relationship. Playing 20 questions with each other is actually fun– because we are genuinely interested in each other’s answers, and it is safe to open up because neither one is bailing on the other– ever. The week together just flew by, and the only difficult moment was actually saying good-bye and putting him back on that plane across the Atlantic.

Thanks to modern technology, we can stay rather well connected, and we have already proven ourselves to be good co-conspirators in terms of playing jokes and working together on gifts for others. While my son keeps wishing that both his uncles could live next door to us, I have to keep reminding him that he should just be grateful we found everyone– focus on what you have, and not what you don’t have.

Of course I wish we were not some real life version of Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker, separated at birth for all these years, but I’m not so sure we would have hit it off so well before I became a reformed Control Freak, and I am a firm believer in the saying that everything happens for a reason: My brothers, along with my father and uncle have come into my life exactly when my son wants and craves more male figures in his life, and I feel safe introducing these men to him because they are not going anywhere.

As I watched my brother play with my son last month, I found myself melting– something I feared might no longer be possible at this stage of the game. Without any history to taint my feelings towards my brother, I find myself gushing about him– and although I realize sooner or later we will have our moments of disagreement, I know that no matter what, he will always be part of my family; so, for the first time ever, I now know what it is like to unconditionally love a man.