A marked difference

I had the pleasure tonight to have one of my oldest friends sit at my dinner table for the first time since Tiffany began our life together. For 17 years Ralph has been my brother from another mother, seeing me through all the ups and downs of my roller coaster ride of a life. He was there when my oldest son was born, and when the two that followed came along as well. We sat around bonfires in his back yard as his marriage fell apart, then years later as mine followed suit. He was there when the power of F8 revealed itself to me, both many years ago and just this past spring when my gypsy girl entered my life. And tonight, as we ate our meal and talked about the past, present, and future, he said words to me that I will never forget.

Of course this isn't the first time that Ralph and I have spent hours in philosophical conversation, nor is it the first time that he has given me words of wisdom that helped guide me out of the woods and onto the path again. He told me many times during my marriage that something just seemed off, and that he didn't see me growing old with my ex-wife. He was right. He told me that we should reach out to another person who seemed as though was meant to have a place in both our lives. Right again. He told me that this year, 2011, was going to be the year that set us both on course to where we are supposed to be. And he was again correct. Both proud men, we have cried tears of sorrow, regret and happiness together as we leaned on each other for a decade and a half. As we sat and talked tonight, his words made my eyes well up yet again.

I am very proud of where I am today. In a year once again filled with ups and downs, I found what I was looking for in a pizza shop on Main Street. A kind and compassionate soul with the red hair to boot, I knew almost from the beginning that Tiffany was going to play a major role in my life. She has turned my world upside down and made me understand that I am not alone on the path. As the old saying goes, I love who I am when I am with her. She brings out the best in me, and apparently that shows. My sister adores her and my Dad told me he can see the positive influence she has upon me. And tonight, as one of my best friends sat at the table, he shared these words with me:

"Brother, I have seen you at your worst. I have seen you when it seemed like you fell and didn't know how to get back up. When people were in your life to see what they could get from you or that only were going to cause you heartache and sorrow. I feel like now I get to see you at your best, when things are together for you and you have turned a corner. It is a marked difference and I could not be happier for you"

I will never forget when he said this to me. As I stated earlier, Ralph has truly seen me through it all. And being the friend that he is and always has been, it meant the world to me that he identifies who I have beside me now. A woman who thinks of me first and loves me deeply, sincerely, unconditionally and without restrictions. It blows me away when she turns and tells me how lucky she is to have me in her life, because she makes me feel like the luckiest man on the planet.

As for my brother Ralph, it seems his life is on the upswing as well. As we talked about the plans and the path he walks today, I too am excited for him. It is going to be a legendary journey, this upcoming year 2012. It is going to be a year when, for both of us, dreams really do come true.

Good Night All................

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