Letter from a Big Brother – “Measure of Success”

BBBS Match Support Staff received this e-mail today from Big Brother Bob, who became such a part of his Little Brother Ryan’s family that Ryan’s mom asked Bob to be the officiant at her wedding!

Today is the day!
Ryan graduates from high school today!!

I thank all of the wonderful folks in the Big Brother organization on his behalf.
Although for me it has just been playing and having fun, for Ryan it has been a ‘life experience’.
I would not have said this over the last 10 years but recently it was drilled home.
Because I was ‘just being me’ it never really occurred to me that my involvement was doing anything other than keeping him safe and happy for three hours a week.

Late this Winter his Mother called me in Florida to ask me to marry her! I, having been warned by BB/BS not to get TOO close, knew I could not say yes. But of course I was wrong again ;o) She laughed and said that I knew that she was engaged to be married. First I explained my obligation to Ryan remained my first priority and then told her how honored I was that she and her fiance thought me worthy to officiate at their commitment. I made a deal. The bride and groom to be both have children and practice different faiths. I offered that if they would look in to picking A clergy person to marry them with just the children that I would be honored to conduct ‘my first wedding vows service’ ever. They did and I did. Then we did their ‘second’ I DO’s with no one, except the kids, knowing that they had been married the week before in a church. The service that I did for them last weekend was at the ocean in Maine overlooking a light house. It was quite nice and moving. But the origin of my telling this story is that very few people knew who the officiator (me) was. The attendees found out at the reception with surprised about Ryan and I.  Over and over again during the celebration people came to tell me what a difference BB made in Ryan’s life.

Among the many words of wisdom that I received in my BB training and from Kristen Guinta were…. “Ryan really wants a dad so be careful. And don’t get close to the parent as it likely will diminish your effectiveness with Ryan”. I tried to adhere to both cautions and all of the other wonderful guiding advice that I received throughout these 10 years.
I congratulated Ryan’s mother for keeping Ryan ‘the man in her life’ until he was 19 and graduating from high school.
So today is an event in our BB journey. I will be there for his graduation.
This past week, Ryan and I went out for pizza together to celebrate the wedding, his final exams, his prom and his now to be graduation. He was very happy about all of the milestone events!
Ryan will attend a community college next year to pursue criminal justice and law enforcement.

Gail and Melanie WE did good! Please let the BB support team know that AGAIN they’ve made a difference in a life!
We share in this success together!
I am grateful for the opportunity to be friends with Ryan!

Bob

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