But tonight when only half of us ate supper together (Ale, Joel, and me), our conversation over stir-fried veggies and chicken lead us to talk about the Tooleys. Which, of course, lead me to ask Ale if I had ever told her the story of how they became my second parents. I told the whole thing, every painful and lovely detail that brought me into their home and them into my heart.
She looked at me with wide eyes and said, "It is just like me!" And I got a little choked up at all of it. Joy for remembering. Joy for giving back. Joy for people who become family and who open up their arms to include one more.
P.S. Rick and Kennetha, I am sorry that I never paid rent all those months! If I could go back in time, I sure would. And I would also clean my bedroom!