This post is a while in coming, since we met the relative in question Sunday, but I've been busy - among other things, sewing the outfit I want to wear for my tenth high school reunion Saturday.
My Uncle T is my dad's baby brother, and you could call him the family eccentric. He fell off the face of the earth many years back, I hadn't seen him since I was seven, but in college I somehow got his e-mail address. He changed it often, along with his job and location - and by location, I don't mean changing states, I mean changing coasts and countries. San Francisco - Miami - San Francisco - Brazil - you get the picture. But we exchanged e-mails now and then, which was kind of like having an imaginary pen pal. Then I got a call from my Grandpa Ron (Grandma Sandy's husband) wishing me a happy birthday, and mentioning that Uncle T was with him in Missouri going through Grandma's things for him. And I got to talk to him!!! Which was extremely surreal, as you can imagine. And then he said he was flying to Chicago, and wanted to get together with the family!!
The whole drive to Chicago Sunday, I was nervous. When someone's just words on a screen, or even just a voice on the phone, it's like they're not real in a way, and I kept thinking, what if I don't like him when I actually meet him in person? When you've barely ever met someone, you can kind of build them up in your mind to larger than life, and what if the human being they actually are turns out to be a disappointment?
Turns out, Uncle T is cool. I told him it was like meeting the Loch Ness Monster, and he laughed. And we've gone from having only an e-mail address that might change at any moment, to having multiple Brazillian phone numbers and a physical mailing address. (Resisting the temptation to call Brazil, of course!).
Kittyboy enjoyed meeting his Great-Uncle, as well as playing with his camera, and Uncle T loved meeting him as well. A grand and glorious time was had by all, and Uncle T swears it will NOT have been 21 years the next time he sees us!
My mythical uncle is very real now, and it is AWESOME.