Monday, January 2, 2012

My life is a Hallmark Movie

On New Year's Day we were at our big grocery store at 7:15 am.
Because that is how we roll around here. We drove to my hometown and back the day before to have a belated family Christmas with my Mom's large extended family. It was a good time introducing the babies to everyone. I got to see my Dad--more on that in another post. We pulled out of my Mom's driveway at 6:45 pm and the babies--exhausted from the festivities--both fell asleep by 6:47. They slept the whole way, all 175 miles. Until the last mile. I kid you not, a police offier pulled us over.

DH went mini-ballistic. I was not speeding! I am not drunk! It's 10:15 pm on New Year's Eve, why is he pulling us over and we have two sleeping babies in the back and we're almost home and we are both so damn tired and we just want to get home and people PUHLEEZE.

Here's a question for the masses: when police officers ask if they know why they are pulling you over do they expect an honest answer?

At any rate, apparently the little tiny light bulb that lights our license plate has burned out and that was reason to pull us over, on the worst night for drunk driving, when there were likely multiple other drivers out at that very moment committing real driving offenses.

When he shined his massive flashlight into the back seat illuminating my sleeping babies I half-hoped/willed that they would wake up and start wailing uncontrollably just to show him. Except. It wouldn't have shown him anything. What did he care? I would have been the one to then have to deal with their wailing, snotty nosed selves. So I quickly thanked God that they remained asleep.

But none of this has to do with the blog post title. Because if that were the Hallmark Movie, well, let's just say it wouldn't be a ratings killer.

Back to the the story of why we were at the grocery store so early. Because we didn't go out for New Year's. I could get all reflective on 2011 but if you're a reader you know it was a good year--ultimately, after some serious lows and scares--, a year that there really aren't words to describe, but it was definitely a year worth celebrating for us. I'll leave it at that.

Ahem. Back to the grocery store.
It's empty at 7:15 am which is why we like it. DH goes with me. Each baby gets their own shopping cart and they honestly act like they are king and queen of said carts--really, king and queen of the whole store. If there are other shoppers or workers around they laugh and flirt and engage them, they point at the lights, they point at the food, they babble constantly as they direct their grocery store kingdom.

I was steering my cart back towards the soup aisle, having forgotten some vegetarian broth when I saw an employee, a handsome young man, standing in the middle of the aisle, smiling broadly at me and my daughter. He kept staring, engaging us the whole time, and I thought it a bit odd, and anticipated him asking if he could help me find something.

"Hello!" he said and gave me a look like: hello, it's ME!

And then it hit me and my eyes welled up with tears and I nearly leapt at him to give him a hug.

Because it was R.

Our little brother. The one we mentored for seven years through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program and loved with our whole hearts and then watched as he accumulated a child, a criminal record, and dropped out of high school. Watched helplessly as we failed miserably as his mentors.

I haven't seen him in years, though we were just talking about him on the drive to my hometown, wondering what he was doing, wondering what had become of him. The last we knew he was living about an hour away, still married, with two babies of his own.
I will not go into details here, but suffice is to say that our relationship ended on a less than pleasant note and it was painful for me and the mister. And then our own lives became so much more complicated and we felt that our seven year mentoring relationship with R would just have to stand on its own, it was what it was, we did the best we could.

And there he was, bright and early in 2012, standing right in front of me, somehow in our grocery store in our little neck of the woods, returning my hug with such a force.

Note: the next parts are going to sound like I'm tooting our horn. I am not. I just want to repeat what he said, for the sake of my Hallmark Movie.

He told us he had seen us shopping a few times before but hadn't wanted to to talk to us because he was embarrassed. Embarrassed that we would be so upset with him and for all he had put us through.

I didn't want you to think your time with me was wasted. It wasn't. It meant so much to me. My life is hard and I'm just realizing how I need to do the stuff we used to talk about--go back to school, do something more. But you guys meant so much to me and I know I screwed up. Probably, if you hadn't done what you did for me, I would have been in a lot worse place. A lot worse. So thank you for all you did for me.

Or something along those lines. My head was spinning as I took him in with my eyes. All 21 years of him. He is handsome--always was.

We talked some more, hugged some more, introduced our babies to him, and exchanged numbers.

I floated out of that store.
We both instantly started talking about how we could have him back in our lives.

He's like our original kid, and he's back.

To be continued....


  1. Wow!! Can't wait to read about the upcoming episodes! What a hallmark moment indeed!! Happy New Year MTL!!

  2. what a wonderful way to start the new year!!

  3. Sweet babies, to sleep all the way home! I am so happy for you that you had the best New Year's morning ever, seeing your Little Brother. I am sure that your presence in his life made a huge, huge difference.

  4. How wonderful for you! I am looking forward to hearing more as the story unfolds. It sounds like he truly understands what wonderful people you are, and how lucky he was/is to have met you.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Hallmark movies don't leave me hanging!! ;)

    I have always, ALWAYS thought from reading that it just doesn't end there... i knew it! but I guess I never vocalized that... So I probably don't get to say that!

  6. YAY! Made me tear up to read. So happy that he's doing well. I hope y'all can reestablish the relationship you once had. He obviously appreciated it, though his actions these past few years haven't shown it, but he remembers and has grown because of it. That makes it all worth it.

  7. Hi Ashly - It is shanny2007 from DS. I just got caught up on your last year and I am thrilled and in tears all at the same time. I am so happy to have found you again. Your babies are angels and I love your Hallmark moment!

  8. What a sweet moment! (Not the flash light in the back seat moment - the hug one.) You just never know, do neat to know that you did make a difference in R's life. Hope it's all smiles from here on out.

  9. This is pretty cool. Life works in weird ways sometimes. It must feel so good that you and your husband were able to impact that young man in such a positive way. These are the good moments in life!

  10. That IS like a Hallmark movie! How awesome to see him again! And a wonderful way to start the new year. :-)

  11. Oh wow... a hallmark movie for sure! How wonderful that not only is he doing so well, but that you get to KNOW about it. What a gift!