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As a child, I remember spending countless hours in front of the television watching “Back to the Future”. The 80’s sci-fi classic features a young Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a teenager who is sent back in time to save his parents future with the help of his mentor Doc Brown played by Christopher Lloyd.

I dreamed about driving a DeLorean designed just for time travel. I envied Marty McFly. Watching him journey back to a moment right before his parents met left me in awe. What a sight to behold -- to see your parents young and in love. Oh! How I longed for the day to return to that time in history. If I could alter my parent’s trajectory to inevitably ensure a better life for our family. A life no longer marred by memories of a fragmented home and an absentee dad. Instead, I would have recollections replete with father and son time. Every little league baseball game, amusement park, movie, and sporting event would be cherished. Every hug and kiss would be accepted and appreciated. Every time he uttered, “I love you son” or “I’m so proud of you” would be honored and heartfelt. If only I could turn back the hands of time things would be much different, or so I had hoped. Subsequently, as I grew older, reality set in and my dreams of owning a DeLorean dwindled. Unlike the movie, I could not go back to the future.

Until…

One day I decided to become a Big Brother. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) office waiting patiently to meet my potential little brother, I was nervous and apprehensive. I found myself wondering if my “little” would like me or would we even be a good match. Finally, my little walked through the door with his Mother and sister. The BBBS liaison introduced us. “Remington meet Jeremiah, Jeremiah, I would like you to meet Remington”.

Once the initial interview ended, we all agreed…it’s a match!

The day finally came for us to have our first outing together and we were both excited. We decided to keep it simple and go to the park and play Frisbee. We had a really great time, and instantaneously there was a connection. It wasn’t until our second outing that I had an epiphany. We decided to go bowling and grab lunch. Afterwards, Jeremiah glanced at me and asked, “What’s the relationship with your dad like?” Stunned by his question, I replied, “My dad and I do not really have a relationship. It’s been that way for quite some time now.” He paused briefly. “I don’t have a relationship with my dad either. I think that’s why they matched us together.”

I sat there speechless. It was at that moment I stared at him and saw my own reflection. I saw a seven year old boy scared and confused. Due to unforeseen circumstances in his life, he too was looking to alter his reality. That was four years ago.

That moment back at the bowling alley gave me perspective and purpose. I suddenly realized my role in life. I was never meant to play the role of Marty McFly. It was always to be Doc Brown, the Mentor.

Whenever I pull up in front of Jeremiah’s house, it feels like I’m stepping out of a DeLorean. Yes. The same DeLorean I used to dream about. But it’s different now. Long gone are the days of wishing to go back in time in an attempt to alter my reality. My sights are now set on a greater purpose.

Now every school project, every sports game, every conversation with Jeremiah creates new memories we cherish. Every hug is mutually valued. Each time I say, “I love you” or “I’m so proud of you” is welcomed and warranted.

All the things I had hoped for as a child, I now have the opportunity to provide to Jeremiah. I believe being a prominent presence in his life during his formative years will fortify a foundation that will allow him to flourish in the future. His presence in my life is also paramount. I just can’t imagine my life without him. Our past and present is converging in the most cathartic and consequential way possible.
Our connection is cemented by years of commitment, companionship and commonality. Our eyes are set on the future and we’re shooting for the stars! We have a lot more traveling to do.
I can hear him now as we get into my car eager to take off, “Hey Rem! We better back up. We don't have enough road to get up to 88.”
 
I would then simply reply with a smile, “Roads? Where we're going J, we don't need roads.”

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