Les and I met in 1985 at Texas Christian Academy in Arlington. For two years Les dated my best friends and I tormented him relentlessly for every wrong move he made with them. I felt it was my job to make sure my friends were treated well by him and everyone else.
Since January of 1988, Les and I have lived our own lives, only running into each other every few years at Wal-Mart or an unfortunate funeral of a former classmate. Never in a million years did we foresee our lives crossing paths in the way it now has.
In July of 2009, over twenty years after we parted ways, Les found me by chance on a social networking site where many of our former classmates were members and had got to know each other again. I was a little behind the times as I was not a member of this site until that summer. Les and I chatted occasionally online about our families and where we had each been for the past 20 years; finding that we were just 15 minutes away from each other for the past 8 years.
Les’ wife, Belinda, even became my “friend” on this networking site where she and I would sit and laugh about silly things we each knew about Les and his background. She was a very sweet woman, who I believe has been a great influence on Les and directed him to be the man he is today.
Belinda and I made plans to have a mother-daughter day out, shopping or at the movies, with our daughters in September, but my credit card was stolen and I had some extra expenses in the process which kept me from having the funds for the outing until my next pay-day in late October. However, on October 17, 2009, I stared in dis-belief as I read a message posted by Les that Belinda had passed away that morning, Knowing that she had a life long illness, I assumed it was a contributing factor in her passing and began to pray for the family. I sent my cell phone number to Les through a private message for when he needed someone to talk to while dealing with this unthinkable situation. I knew that he had two children who would need his strength to carry them through.
My daughter, Chelsey, and I attended the funeral about a week later. It was beautiful and packed to over-flowing with people whose lives Belinda had touched. It was a very genuine service, especially touching for us were the children she left. Randall wiped the eyes of his sister, Andrea’, as the service continued. This was evidence to me of the kind and loving family she had raised.
As we exited the building after the service my daughter saw Les standing in the parking lot alone. She and I walked over to give him a hug and assure him that he would recover from this tragedy.
Several days later, Les and I chatted online briefly. He was in too much pain to function. A few days after this contact, he called and asked for my help in analyzing the children’s behavior and help in dealing with his own grief. He would text me and ask me how to handle his over whelming pain from the gaping hole in his heart. He would sometimes just tell me that he missed her, and I would tell him that was ok. That he would miss her for the rest of his life, but the pain would get easier to manage in time. It seems that just having someone to talk to, someone to reassure him, was all he needed to carry on for his children.
Les and I talked daily; into the wee hours of the morning, at times. Finally, he was able to return to work and provide for his family again. We agreed to meet weekly for a movie night at his house so that I would observe the kids. My oldest daughter, Chelsey, bonded with Randall and they became fast friends. We both watched as this family pulled itself back together, intent on healing and moving forward.
At some point our conversations became more personal and in December of 2009 we decided to start dating. It was a little odd at first. He kept waiting for me to gripe him out for something like “the old Rhonda” as he calls it. I kept thinking, this is deja vu in some ways, but awkward in others. The more we talked and spent time together the more comfortable and natural our relationship became.
On March 21, 2010, Les took me to Texas de Brazil for lunch and proposed between the entrée and the dessert. Of course, I said “yes” and we started planning to get married in January of the following year. However, as time moved forward we decided, with the blessing of our children, to get married on July 29, 2010 in a small family service at the church in which my children were reared.
A year and a half later we now look back on where we have been and forward to what is to come. It’s an amazing testament to what God is capable of doing in the lives of those who believe he is capable of anything.