Leon the Great

Many years before I met Adam, he volunteered for a mentoring program at Marillac House. The program was every other Saturday.   Adam would show up and tutor for 3 hours, but part of that time was spent playing sports in a classroom.

Many children ages 8-13 showed up, the first few weeks requiring mentoring in different subjects.   Each had different challenges and vastly different cognitive abilities.    Very quickly, Adam felt he was not making an effective impact for the time he spent, slowing down for some kids while others looked bored.

He asked if he could mentor just one kid instead of 3 or 4 and given that more tutors were joining the program, the director reluctantly agreed.

There were many kids there. And Adam talked to each of them. One day, he asked one of the students what he wanted to do in life.

This particular 11 year old said he wanted to be a basketball player. The best basketball player ever.

“Why do you want to do that?” Adam asked.

“So when people see me they would say, there goes Leon the Great.”

Adam realized he had found his match.

And so started a 15 year friendship.

Leon is now a 26 year old man and and last night we went to his wedding.IMG_6965

He married his sweetheart of 8 years, Nina.

The wedding was only 6 miles from our house, but it was like we had travelled to another city altogether. I realized quickly what a bubble I live in.

You’d think it would make a person feel shy and out of place but not here. Here everyone had a nice or funny comment ready. In fact, I was telling Adam it was one of the few weddings I had ever been to that was drama free. Rather than the normal family squabbles that seem so common among our friends, this family banded together. The sister was decorating the venue up to the last minute. The uncle saw the bartender was overwhelmed and stepped on the other side to help out.

They did a lot of other really classy things too. Traditionally after the mother/groom dance the bride dances with her dad. But Nina’s dad passed away early this year. Instead of an awkward moment, they had her girlfriends rally around her, dancing a joyous Wobble dance.IMG_2137

Oh yes I did. Don’t you know me at all? I never miss a chance to dance. No matter how out of my league I am.

When we arrived we were seated at the very front table. I was surprised and honored that they would place so much importance on Adam. Since we’ve had all these kids we have not seen Leon and Nina half as much as Adam would like.

I was even more flattered for Adam to see Leon’s own parents were at our table too.

Throughout the night many people came to say hi to Adam. One man introduced himself. He said that he never met Adam but heard all about him from Leon when Leon was a kid in the neighborhood.

My chest swelled with pride that I had married this great man.

Perhaps when people see Adam I should shout out, “There goes Adam the Great.”

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