Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

A Love Letter

When I met my husband-to-be, Andre, over twenty years ago, there were things that I knew:

--That he brought a real glass (not a plastic cup) from home every day, to drink complimentary soda at the movie theatre where we both worked.

--That he drove the original Smart Car, a tiny Chevy Sprint that I dubbed, 'the death trap', partially because our shoulders actually touched in the front seat.

--That his special occasion meal was--wait for it--Hamburger Helper.

But there was so much I didn't know yet. Those subtleties that come from growth and maturity that evolve over time. It's the stuff you don't actively think too much about when you're looking for love, but if you're lucky enough to partner up with someone possessing things like integrity, compassion and depth of character, you'll be forever grateful. And slightly in awe.

Indeed. I am.

Andre's been a mentor, both formally and informally, to a host of young men over the years, including Ty. They were matched through a mentoring program when Ty was in middle school. Four years ago, Andre supported Ty through the acceptance process at The Met in Providence, a charter school, which Ty himself took the initiative to enroll in, that's shaking education on its head.

The Met is brilliant at creating an excitement for learning. The school promotes intellectual curiosity by allowing students to not get bogged down with traditional text books, but to instead develop their own curriculum through internships. The Met also creates an awesome support system, by pairing a single advisor with a core group of students, all of whom remain together for four years.

Andre and Ty were officially paired up through his freshman year at the Met, until Ty's living situation changed. What Ty didn't realize is that Andre Brown is a hard dude to shake. Truth is, if Andre's your mentor, you've got someone you can count on for life. So, when Andre calculated that Ty should be graduating, as a member of the Class of 2012, you best be sure that Andre's going to be there. Dressed, of course, in a blazer--'cause that's just how we do.

Last Thursday, Andre read a newspaper notice that the Met school was hosting their graduation that evening. And so began the cosmic series of events to bring the mentor and mentee together again, on an night of incredible pride, outstanding positive energy, and a performance by Jeffrey Osborne. That's right. R&B superstar Jeffrey Osborne, live, on stage, performing 'On The Wings of Love.'

Did you get that sort of soundtrack at your high school graduation? Didn't think so.

The song was fitting, because truly, this graduation night was all about love. The love the students have for their school, administrators, advisors and each other. The love of learning. The love and pride of the families themselves, many who count a high school graduate in their ranks for the first time. How love can help you succeed in life, overcome obstacles and encourage you to reach for the stars.

So congratulations Ty! Up next--college graduation!!

And Happy 13th Wedding Anniversary Andre! I love you--and am so proud of the man that you've become.