I think I'm the only one in the family who truly knows what my brother is feeling right now. I can relate completely, and I remember every minute of the first time I met people on my dad's side of the family.
It's all pretty parallel - John's dad's family speaks Spanish (they’re from Mexico), and John doesn’t understand. My dad’s family speaks Arabic (they’re from Saudi Arabia) and I don’t understand. Both families (my dad's and John's dad's) are very warm, loving, hospitable and are loyal and connected to each other.
Another parallel: I knew John's family pretty well when I was a child and my mom was married to John’s father. John was a baby, so he doesn't remember any of it, but because I am 9 years older, I very clearly remember our trips to Mexico, and I remember his uncles Juan and Ariel, and his aunt Mika.
I remember John’s dad very well and he doesn't know him at all.
I relate to John when it comes to this, because my sister on my father's side, Sara (who lives in England) lived with our dad when she was a kid, and she remembers him very well and knows so much about him. For me, he is all just a myth and just a story, basically, but for Sara, he's really real. That's how John feels - I know a lot about his dad, but to John, his dad is this mysterious figure who doesn't seem to actually exist.
Anyway, it's hard to express in words what any of this feels like. Bottom line: I'm glad John has at least one person (me) who knows what he's going through right now. There are a lot of mixed feelings that come with the reunion of the family of our fathers - that part is so positive and so amazing; however, the fact that neither of our fathers make an effort to know us (unlike the fact that their relatives do make the effort) is something that is tough to swallow, and we are especially reminded of that during times like these.
John and I are both very lucky to have Mom and our family on her side, and we are both lucky to have relatives on our fathers’ sides who exemplify the qualities that are not present in our fathers themselves.