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As a child, I remember spending countless hours in front of the television watching "Back to the Future." I dreamed about driving a DeLorean designed just for time travel so I could alter my childhood. I wanted to create a past that was no longer marred by memories of a fragmented home and an absentee dad. But unlike the movie, I could not go back in time.
Until one day I decided to become a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters. I remember it like it was yesterday. One day, my Little Brother 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 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 change my past. 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. All the things I had hoped for as a child, I now have the opportunity to provide to him. I believe being a prominent presence in Jeremiah's 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.