When Maria asked me if I like surprises, I thought to myself, “What could it be?” Afterwards, now I understand why she said it twice… it was their cue to come in. I said yes, and that’s when the door opened and it opened up a whole new world for my wife and I. When the door opened, here comes this lady, and I’m thinking to myself, “Was it someone I had married 10 years ago when I first started doing weddings?” I’m pretty good with faces, but I had no recollection of her ever being in front of me. I saw that there were other people following her, two other women and a man, but as she was approaching me, I thought, I just don’t know who this is. She stuck out her hand and of course I put my hand out to greet her, wanting to stand, but sitting, I was at her eye level. And she said her name, “Hi, I’m Mary Talavera, your sister.” It was a moment that my whole world changed in the blink of a few words — it immediately brought a gush of tears, palpitations. My lovely bride had her hand on my arm and it got really tight. It was an explosion of tears and emotions of a lifetime. And I’m trying to see who’s behind her because my eyes are so filled with tears of joy, and the next one said, “I’m Espy Talevera, I’m your sister.” Then the next one, dark hair, beautiful, “I’m Yolanda, I’m your sister.” I was totally speechless and crying and I knew my wife was crying, because these are things we’ve been talking about all of our lives together, discussing the fact that I had no family and that maybe I should try to find my father because I was getting old, and then comes this man. I’m realizing this might be my brother, three sisters and a brother, emotions flying into a star-spangled banner. We spent until 5am talking, because they were leaving early on flights. After the show, I went to John Wayne Airport, Orange County, Laguna Beach canyon and my sister was having a party a week later and they had a birthday party planned for her. Several members of my family was going to be there, and I ended up renewing her vows at her birthday party. I stayed at the beautiful Laguna Beach hotel overlooking the ocean, and I had some nice long talks with my new nephew and niece to be, who I hope to marry in the near future. I’m the patriarch of the family, and I’m the only one who looks like my dad. I look like Dad. I got the same cheeks, the forehead, even the moustache is the same, and the smile and the glowing green eyes. It turns out I had two more brothers and a sister, as well as eleven nieces of nephews. I flew to Seattle where I stayed with one of my sisters and her son, and then I fell down a flight a stairs at her house! The whole time I thought, “Great, I just met my family and now I’m going to die!” But I was okay. Bruised, but okay. So I went from no brothers and sisters on my side of family. Lou Ann has three sisters, and she’s the matriarch of the family and now I have 7 brothers and sisters! Nobody in the family has ever put together a family tree, so I’m putting it together because I’m not only an uncle, I’m a great uncle.
And we Facebook and call each other daily, and when I text a note, I gotta text it to seven brothers and sisters. I copy and paste and it takes me a while. Be careful what you wish for!