Through some combination of various folks using consumer genetic testing and genealogy research websites, my family found out that my maternal grandma has a half sister that’s not quite a year older than her. This past Saturday, my family was visiting my mom and grandma on a day that coincided with my Uncle Scott visiting from New Jersey, and this newfound great aunt visiting along with her daughter (who is around my own mom’s age), my first cousin, once removed.
My mom and her brothers, along with my grandma, had already spoken to them several times over the phone and were excited for this visit, and I was pretty excited to meet them, too. Sure, I’m still on-balance an optimist, so I recognize what may be inherent awkwardness in this sort of first encounter. But my new relatives are wonderful. Truly wonderful. My grandma, the oldest of four (and the only gal) in her household growing up, is thrilled to find that she has a sister. It’s already a celebratory time of year, and we were already happy to visit family close to the holidays for a get-together. Meeting up with new family and having a terrific time learning about each other and sharing some laughs was the most unexpected extra gift.