Longtime readers will remember my BRITTANY ROSE AND ME photo blog. Well late last evening, Brittany Rose became a mother, making me effectively, for lack of a better term, a God-grandfather/uncle. Mother, father and new daughter doing fine out in Iowa.
Seems a lifetime ago when Brittany walked into my life. literally. She was out shopping with her mother and her brother and they had wandered into my bookstore at age 19. Ten years ago. Her mother asked if we were hiring. I said yes. She said her daughter was looking for a job. I looked at the girl and asked her a question. Her mother answered. I asked another. Her mother answered again. I finally looked at her mother and asked, "Can SHE talk?"
I interviewed her but didn't hire her. I don't remember why.
But I remembered her name. I never remembered the names of people I interviewed. Six months later, though, when I was once again hiring, I remembered her hame and called her again. This time I hired her. In her interview she told me she had major self-esteem issues. I said, "We can fix that.""Better people than you have tried," she said. "Ah, but they weren't me," I replied.
When I left the company about a year later, she was not happy. On my last day, she barely said a word to me. I finally caught her alone in the back room and asked what was wrong. She admitted that she was upset I was leaving. I explained that I'd stay in touch. She complained that everyone always says that but never does it. I reminded her that I'm not everyone.
We stayed in touch. I even ended up coaching her on some writing projects and, in a memorable afternoon, helping her dye her hair purple. But then she got engaged and moved to Columbus to attend OSU.
We stayed in touch.
A couple years later, her mother passed and she came back down. Although far from in the best of moods due to the circumstances, it was so good to see her again. After that, though, things went further downhill with her engagement ending and her eventually leaving college. She needed a job. I was once again managing a bookstore and I was once again hiring. I hired her.
Beyond that, she had nowhere to live as she came back from Central Ohio so she lived with us for a few weeks until she found an apartment she could make her own.
Somewhere in there, I snapped a photo of her...then another...and before you knew it we were doing actual photoshoots, eventually resulting in a few thousand photos of her! She thanked me for helping to increase her self-esteem when she didn't think it was possible.
In time, we both lost our jobs but she became a licensed massage therapist and found Thomas. When he was offered a job in Iowa, she went with him, they married and...well, there she is...along with little Caliana Rene.
At important moments like this, I can't help but reflect on the seeming randomness that led to this moment. If she hadn't come in the store that night, if I hadn't remembered her name, if she had stayed in school, if...if...if...
In the top photo above, the first shot was taken in 2003. The second in 2009. In the second photo, the left image was taken in 2006, the right in 2008.
Congratulations to Brittany and Thomas and welcome to the world, Callie!