The boy was in shock. He quit speaking altogether. He quit caring. His foster parents didn’t know how to reach him, so they sent him to another facility.

His older brother sang to him. Every night before bed. That might sound strange to you. But it was what they did before bed. Singing.

They lived in a foster home. His brother was more than a brother. He was mother, father, friend, guardian, bunk mate.


His brother helped him dress for school, tied his shoes, and taught him to stand up for himself on a playground.

And it was his brother who kept the memories of their mother alive. He talked about the way she used to read stories, make sugar cookies, eat too much ketchup on fries.

His brother was hit by a car while walking home from school. The funeral was small. Only a few social workers, and friends.

The boy was in shock. He quit speaking altogether. He quit caring. His foster parents didn’t know how to reach him, so they sent him to another facility.

He was the youngest in the new place, and found it hard to fit in with the others. He spent time alone. He looked out his window, remembering the sound of his brother’s singing voice.

One day, a maintenance man arrived to fix a damaged, leaky ceiling in the boy’s bedroom. He was an older man. The kind of man who couldn’t be quiet even if his life depended on it. A happy fella who talked too much and laughed at his own jokes.

The boy liked him. They made fast friends.

For a full day, the man stood on a ladder replacing sections of damaged drywall. Chatting up a blue streak.

The boy started talking, too. And once the child started, he didn’t stop. He talked about football heroes, favorite movies, monsters, dinosaurs, fast cars, fire trucks.

About his late brother.

The old man just listened. He listened so intently that his one-day ceiling repair job took three days.

He let the boy help him work. The kid tossed him hammers, drills, and buckets of drywall mud. The boy even helped sand the ceiling.

It was the first time anyone had seen the kid so alive.

When the ceiling was finished, the man bid the boy goodbye. He shook the boy’s hand and rubbed the boy’s hair.

He folded his ladder and gathered his tools. The boy watched the truck leave the driveway, and it was loneliness again.

The following week brought long, sad days in his room. Meals without speaking. Recesses without playing. Late nights, humming himself to sleep.

The boy missed his mother. His brother. He missed belonging to someone.

One morning, there was a knock on the boy’s bedroom door. It was the maintenance man again. Only he wasn’t there to work. He was wearing a necktie and jacket, he had his wife with him.

They discussed things. Important things. The man asked the boy to come live with him. The boy agreed.

Then, the man signed a stack of paperwork.

It took ten minutes for the boy to collect his things into a suitcase. It took one week for the boy to settle into his new life.

It took two weeks to start calling the old man “Daddy.”


  1. Marjorie Wax - November 6, 2017 1:18 pm

    This may be the best one yet!

  2. Melanie Howell - November 6, 2017 1:27 pm

    You did it again…I’m bawling my eyes out❤️

  3. Jean - November 6, 2017 1:31 pm

    This touched my heart. ???Thank you for this tender story on yet another day after people were massacred in their church.

  4. mary lou birnbaum - November 6, 2017 1:35 pm

    everybody just needs a little bit of love, spread the wealth, its not about money

  5. Becky - November 6, 2017 1:43 pm

    What a heart warming and tearful story. God bless this child, the older man, and his wife. Family is not always a bloodline but a heart felt event.

  6. Juanita Ruth One - November 6, 2017 2:03 pm

    Such a sweet, heart-warming story. “They discussed important things.” Yes, love and caring about others are very important things! God bless them all…

  7. Catherine - November 6, 2017 2:11 pm

    A beautiful story. I know there are more out there like this. Thank you for bringing them to us Sean.

  8. Tina - November 6, 2017 2:27 pm

    Needed a story with a happy ending today. Thank you.

  9. Amy - November 6, 2017 2:35 pm

    This is living a testimony. Most of us would let reason and facts get in the way of action.

  10. Donna Dicks - November 6, 2017 2:43 pm

    How is is possible that one person in so few words can evoke such feeling? Sean has done it again…some days it’s a big smile, some days tears rolling down my face, some days a big “Amen” out loud. Please keep writing and making us FEEL. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    • Maxine Cockerill - December 4, 2017 1:27 am

      Amen to feeling, Donna. So many of us are numb because of all the other stories out there. It hurts to feel but we are ALIVE. And just maybe can pass being alive on.

  11. amystjh - November 6, 2017 2:43 pm


  12. Mike Boysen - November 6, 2017 2:50 pm

    I’m sure this has been said before……your stories inspire me to be a better man.

  13. Sue Ellen Terrell - November 6, 2017 3:06 pm

    I love happy endings

  14. Dawn - November 6, 2017 3:10 pm

    Your stories make my eyes leak, dangit.

  15. theholtgirls - November 6, 2017 3:27 pm

    You done good, Sean. Thanks!

  16. Judy Riley - November 6, 2017 3:58 pm

    Tear jerker..with a happy ending!! Love these stories!!

  17. Jack Quanstrum - November 6, 2017 4:16 pm

    Beautiful story. Keep them coming.

  18. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - November 6, 2017 4:50 pm


  19. Augusta Jones - November 6, 2017 5:28 pm

    What a beautiful and tearful story. Thanks

  20. Linda Chipman - November 6, 2017 5:36 pm

    Thank goodness for the good people of this world.

  21. Pat Byers - November 6, 2017 6:04 pm

    what Donna Dicks said? Ditto. And some days, those silent tears running down my face turn into a full blown cry. Like today.
    Thank you for writing these stories of people who need to be shared.
    from one of your biggest admirers !

  22. Patricia Schmaltz - November 6, 2017 6:31 pm

    Love it.. but STOP making me cry!!!

  23. Mark Nydell - November 6, 2017 6:32 pm

    Sean, why is it your goal to make me cry every time I read your stories? I can’t seem to help myself.

    I recieve an email telling me you have a new post. I click on the link to your website with a smile on my face. Even before reading I know that there is a really good chance for the appearance of tears. Sure enough, by the end of the narrative, I am blurry eyed and bawling.

    Thank you for everyone of those tears that have been given to me!

  24. Susan Hammett Poole - November 6, 2017 6:42 pm

    WowOhWow! God bless that new little family, and thank you, Sean, for sharing this heartfelt story.

  25. Connie - November 6, 2017 7:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing some sweetness today.

  26. CKD - November 6, 2017 7:52 pm

    What a wonderful story. Reminds me of Herm Edwards, a sports caster, and his quote, “Most people live their lives to make a living. Live your life to make a difference.”

  27. Jack Darnell - November 6, 2017 8:26 pm

    Boy, did I strike gold here (with Sheila’s help!). Great read dude! Thanks

  28. Wendy - November 6, 2017 9:05 pm

    I never seem to find a better adjective than poignant. And ditto Terri. TYSM, Sean!

  29. Wendy - November 6, 2017 9:07 pm

    Oops…Perri, not Terri.

  30. Jody - November 7, 2017 12:16 am

    Beautiful Story.

  31. Patricia Gibson - November 7, 2017 12:23 am


  32. bee1954 - November 7, 2017 12:52 am

    Your stories help keep me grounded. I like be them and appreciate your gift!

    • bee1954 - November 7, 2017 12:54 am

      Well, that was supposed to say, “I love them and appreciate your gift.”

  33. Shirley Strickland - November 7, 2017 1:13 am

    This tears at one’s heart. Too true, too often.

  34. Lois Chapman - November 7, 2017 4:35 am

    Enjoyed the short story that had so much to say about life, love & friendship. Your story speaks volumes about the love God has for us. Loved it!

  35. Marion - November 7, 2017 5:30 am

    So bittersweet!

  36. Deidre Jones - November 7, 2017 12:24 pm

    Happy Adoption Month. Sweet story of finding a forever family. Brought tears to my eyes.

  37. Joyce Anne Bacon - November 7, 2017 12:51 pm

    And because of you Sean, I start another morning with happy tears.

  38. Molly - November 7, 2017 1:40 pm

    Thank you, once again, for a story fills my heart!!

  39. Barbara J Schweck - November 7, 2017 4:39 pm

    I have been blessed to work with some great young girls who have no where to call home, I love spending time with them and I love them! I have been given so much from them. Unfortunately, there are many, many children is similar circumstances Prayers for them all! Thank you Sean

  40. Victoria Scott Kearley Hamner - November 19, 2017 12:37 pm

    I love your emails. Keep on.

  41. Dianne Correll - December 3, 2017 3:56 pm

    Just what I needed today!! I

  42. Barbara Bray - December 31, 2018 8:55 pm

    Wish I could commit all of your words to memory but I can’t …..But the love ..that I can remember.


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