Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some Things To Be Grateful For

Life is a crazy thing. Just when you get set in your ways or life gets a bit predictable, WHAM(!), it hits you right in the kisser and all sorts of excitement follows. Excitement like a broken elbow, falling in love, a 2000 mile bus ride, a new daughter (ready made), a new baby and marriage, all in a faraway land. In a nutshell, that's exactly what happened to me starting six years ago today.

It Started Here.
Some background: I used to hang out in the chat rooms on AOL when I had a little free time. And believe or not, I developed some friendships which endure to this day. One of those "friendships" went a little deeper than the others. Twice as deep as a matter of fact. Their names are Heather and Isabella. Heather and I were friend on AOL for a while before we actually spoke to each other on the telephone. That's where the broken elbow comes in. In November, 2004, a few months after my Dad died,  I moved to Colorado to spend some time with and to help my Mom with some stuff. A few weeks later, on the 21st, I called Heather to talk to her for the first time. It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but from that door way on the left, there are twelve steps to the front door of the house. I was at the top of those steps when it happened. I tripped and went assholes and elbows tumbling down them. As I fell, I threw the phone into the street below and I heard it crash. As I'm falling, I am thinking, "Dammit, I just broke Mom's phone!" The fall was in super slow mo, like you see on a football game. After making sure I was still alive, I went inside, my conversation on the phone with Heather obviously over, holding my left elbow and the attendant flood of blood that accompanied it, and my Mom was freaking out when she saw me. Before I go any further, NO I WAS NOT DRUNK!!! Long story short, I broke my elbow in five places. By the way, the phone scattered all over the street below and Mark, my step dad, found all the pieces, re-assembled them and that phone works to this day. Heather later told me that when the phone went dead, she thought that I did not like her much because I hung up on her. Little did she know.

Eighteen months later, in May, I hopped a bus out of Denver and headed east towards Maine. Nobody knew where I was or if I was dead or alive. After a cross country ride, I arrived in Augusta, Maine on Saturday, May 13, 2006. I am still here. Isabella, my ready made little girl, was just shy of four years old. She's now eight years old and I am her Daddy. Bailey was born on February 1, 2007 and Heather and I got married on February 16, 2008. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got here, but I am grateful to God that things turned out like they did. I never was much for doing things the conventional way.

This story epitomizes that "life thing" I opened this story with. I was a ramblin', gamblin' man (literally...I lived at the casinos in my town in Colorado) one minute, and the next I am 2000 miles away with a new family and a new life and I ain't complainin'.

These last six years have been a blessing that seven years ago seemed impossible. Heather has smoothed some of the "rough edges" that I had before coming here, Isabella has changed my life in ways she won't understand for a few years and Bailey the Three Year Old is Daddy's baby girl.

Thank you Heather for making my life whole again. I love you. Thank you, Issy for being the best first little girl that a Daddy could ever have. I love you. And, Bailey, you have made our little family complete. I love you. And, God, I hope that this story gives another man hope about having a family when life looks like it has passed him by. Let me encourage you, my brothers, I was 49 years old when Heather, Isabella and I became a family, and 50 years old when Bailey completed our little group. Just remember, that God will steer you in the right direction when the time is right, so never lose faith or believe that He has forgotten you. He hasn't, He just does things His way and you have to accept that.

I love all three of my girls and wouldn't trade them for a Kingdom and all it's gold. they are much more precious to me than that. I love you Girls. And, dear God, thank you for such a wonderful gift to celebrate at this time of year.


  1. Toby, it is amazing that yours and my life have some paralells. I met my wife under similar circumstances, but the old fashioned way, using the postal service. That will be a good story to tell you someday. Or I may decide to write a post. I haven't decided, but you certainly reminded me you your post.


  2. Bob... that's weird. Please feel free to write a post about it and I'll link to it or post the whole thing on my site. I look so forward to shaking your hand, my friend.

  3. As much as we have in common, such as loving the girls in our lives more than life itself and our love for all things Texas, we do have some differences.
    I'm happy for you and your young family that you have all found each other and that your love grows stronger every day. Yessir, the Good Lord knows what we need better than we do.
    For me, though, I have been happily divorced for 37 years, almost 38. It used to threaten some of my friends wives and they were always trying to fix me up. After several *woof* alerts I had a long talk with one of my best bud's wife, while I was helping her in the kitchen. She got all serious and asked.."so, you are never going to marry again?" To which I replied I never say never, that if it happens I'm all for it, but I have principles and standards now that I didn't have when I was younger. Then I told her that I had almost gotten married again...twice.
    She looked at me all serious and shocked, wanting details. Without looking up from the cutting board and the onions I was chopping, I said..."yep, but both times the same thing happened and I called it off." She was really revved up now, she had to know what happened, and then I hit her with the punchline.
    "What happened in both instances was, they started talking about moving in with me after the wedding and I said no deal."
    Realizing she had been had, she got a little mad and said she would never ask again. I reached over and gave her a big hug and told her I appreciated her concern for my happiness, but that I was already happy. I had wonderful friends and two great kids.
    Just because I am alone doesn't mean I am lonely.
    Having spent as many hours and miles locked up inside my motorcycle helmet as I have, I learned to like myself a long time ago.

  4. One other thing, FFF.
    I lost my dear, sweet Momma in Nov 04. In fact, today was the day I told the doctor to remove her respirator.
    Tomorrow morning at 11:30a.m. will mark her departure from this mortal plane.
    I have not been, nor do I ever expect to be, the same person I was before that day.
    I know you miss your Dad too.

  5. n2l...I was happily single for a number of years and had no intentions of ever getting married again. Like you, I never said never and just when I thought I was gonna be single for the rest of my life...see the story above. LOL Thanks for the thoughts. It's great to have your take on things.


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