She lives in a forty-foot single-wide trailer with her brother. She’s in her early thirties, but seems older. And wiser.
It’s a nice place. Decorated. Frilly curtains. Laundry hangs in the backyard. Photographs on the coffee table. A few scented candles.
Her younger brother is making a sandwich in the kitchen. He’s skinny, tattoos cover his arms. He walks into the living room.
He hugs her before leaving and says, “Love you, Sissy, I’m working late tonight.”
To him, she is more mother than sister. She raised him. She did all things mothers do: diaper changing, wiping hindparts, and she’s washed enough laundry to populate the county landfill.
Her mother died when she was nine. She and her brother lived with their grandfather in this single-wide.
“I remember when I was thirteen,” she says. “I realized it was up to ME to be a mom.”
On the wall is a photograph of her grandfather. She’s in the photo, too. She is young, blonde. She stands behind the old man—arms wrapped around his neck.
“Cancer,” she tells me. “He was seventy.”
He was diagnosed when she was a sophomore. She cared for him during the last few years of his life.
On his final day, she drove him to the emergency room because he couldn’t catch his breath.
In a hospital bed, he told her, “I’m so sorry, baby. First your mama left you, now I’m leaving you.”
Those were his last lucid words.
I’m not here to write something that makes you feel sorry for her. She’s too exceptional of a person for pity. I’m writing about something else.
She met someone.
He is a fireman-paramedic. When they were first introduced, he asked her on a date. She refused.
“I’d never BEEN on a date,” she says. “I was so awkward and just so nervous that he would even ask me.”
He persisted. She gave in. He took her bowling. The thirty-two-year-old girl had never thrown a bowling ball before. They played billiards. She’d never done that either.
That night, she drank too much—it was her first time being drunk.
“He didn’t kiss me or nothing,” she said. “He carried me home, helped me onto the sofa.”
The next morning, he showed up on her porch with donuts, coffee, and jugs of Gatorade. He asked her on another date. Then another.
The rest is, more or less, history.
Anyway, by the time you read this, she’s already in Pigeon Forge, married, on a summer honeymoon. She’s been so excited about it she hasn’t been able to sleep.
There will be a lot of first-times during the next few weeks for this kindhearted late bloomer.
For instance, this is her first vacation. Her first time visiting Tennessee—or anywhere, for that matter. This is the first time she’s left Alabama. The first time she’s been away from her brother.
Her husband is the first boy she ever kissed. And this is the first time she’s been happy.
She also tells me, “This is the first time in my life I feel like God actually notices me.”
Does he ever.
Peg - July 6, 2017 12:46 pm
You touch my heart and soul each and every day! Where have you been all my life?
Cathi Russell - July 6, 2017 12:59 pm
Hey Sean, thanks for the weepy glees again on this brutally hot Thursday morning. ❤
Bobbie - July 6, 2017 1:05 pm
Ohhhhhhhhh….tears here, and best wishes to the newlyweds!
Catherine - July 6, 2017 1:09 pm
Well now, that’s a great way to start my Thursday, all up in the feel good feelings. God is Love. Thanks Sean.
Laura Young - July 6, 2017 1:10 pm
Bless her- what a great middle to her story. She deserves all the happiness coming her way!! Thank you, Sean, for sharing another true life story, that sparks love in our hearts.
Connie - July 6, 2017 1:14 pm
God bless her. She deserves all the happiness she gets. Thank you for sharing her story.
Jill Prince - July 6, 2017 1:49 pm
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - July 6, 2017 2:08 pm
What a lovely story. Excuse me while I wipe away my tears. They aren’t sad tears. They are happy tears — that young lady deserves all the happiness that’s coming her way.
Martha - July 6, 2017 2:25 pm
Got that prickly nose thing again. Love the way you open your eyes to everything and share with everyone what you see.
Jack Quanstrum - July 6, 2017 6:14 pm
I am smiling. Beautiful story. Your writing is captivating. Thank you Sean for another great story. Keep on writing.
Debbie Galladora - July 6, 2017 7:27 pm
Rosemary Wright - July 6, 2017 7:38 pm
Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - July 6, 2017 7:55 pm
Thanks, Bro–for continuing to stoke the fires of hope in these worst-of-times. You do oh so much good. Selfishly I am glad for all of the things in your past that you consider ‘failures’ and are ashamed of. Without them you might be writing a required amount of column inches or some formulaic bull that any other idiot without heart could write. Or worse, you could be wearing an expensive suit and selling out your soul to the devil in some windowless office. Yeah us!
Linda Allen - July 6, 2017 9:06 pm
Everyday another wonderful story. This one was especially touching. Thank you, Sean, for the gifts you share! You are really something!
Judy - July 6, 2017 10:25 pm
Jeannie - July 7, 2017 1:34 am
Boy, that young man had better treat her right!! Keep up with her Sean, and let him know that he is expected to give her the life she deserves. I guess at my age, I just have a touch of cynicism in me and I don’t always believe in fairy tells. I am hoping and praying that it a true love, so that she will live happily ever after!!
Michael Hawke - July 7, 2017 2:22 am
I met the girl of my dreams 10 days before my 55th birthday. I’d never been married. She’s the proof God loves me. I understand.
Kathy Burgess - July 7, 2017 4:50 am
awww…another good one. She was very blessed to marry the first fellow she dated and kissed. I should have done that.
Mary C - July 7, 2017 12:27 pm
I guess there’s always hope.
Anne Trawick - July 7, 2017 2:09 pm
You are a master of the final sentence.
Nicholas Curtis - July 7, 2017 8:44 pm
Better late than never, and better a fire fighter/EMT than just about any other civilian. Nice story Sean and, as usual, well writ.
Dianne - August 24, 2017 10:54 am
Another morning of tears in my coffee. Thank you again for a lovely story of kind, everyday people with wonderful stories to tell.
Rebecca - August 24, 2017 11:52 am
Late bloomer! Thank you Sean for introducing us! Give them my best wishes for a very happy life together!
Deanna J - August 24, 2017 12:09 pm
DebbieKnight - August 24, 2017 1:06 pm
Thankful for finding you and your writings!!! I now have 5 of your books!!!!! And hoping for more!!!!!
Mary Beth - August 24, 2017 2:55 pm
Good things come to those that wait! We are always on God’s mind & he is always in the background working to bring about His perfect plan. So thankful He showed up & showed out for this young woman. Wish I had been that wise as a young girl! Thank you for your consistent glimpses of goodness & inspiration. They are like hugs…for good mental health, we all need at least 12 a day! Bless you!
LindaD - August 24, 2017 4:24 pm
I don’t know how you find all these wonderful, inspiring people to write about, but I sure hope the well never goes dry.
Kristen Hester - August 24, 2017 6:14 pm
Donna Hicks - August 24, 2017 11:51 pm
Your stories never fail to touch me. This one in particular just wrapped itself around my heart. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Booker - February 17, 2018 1:28 pm
I have so much respect for all the people who just show up, day after day, and do the hard things that must be done. I know this is a reprint from last summer, but I took a moment to pray for that couple, and also for her brother. Thank you, Sean, for once again starting my day with love.
Kathy Grey - February 17, 2018 3:08 pm
Jody - February 17, 2018 5:51 pm
Tears of joy. ❤️
Pae Edgington - February 18, 2018 1:26 am
Once again, I have enjoyed your story I look forward to them I have save many to read to my daughter or a friend kinder times, that I grew up in ♥️