Confessions from an Imperfect Sister
It is a warm Saturday afternoon in September. I am at my first Big Brother Big Sister group outing; canoeing at Wye Marsh. I am new to the area and had finally “found the time” to be the righteous citizen I had been putting off for so many years. But as I stand at the base of a twenty foot tree attempting to coax a nine year old down – a nine year old who would soon be a deciding factor in if I would swim or paddle back to shore – I began to worry, Maybe I didn’t think this through.
That little girl did eventually climb down from the tree and during the next two years I volunteered in the Big Bunch program she spent every outing either clung to me or doing everything in her power to annoy me. She was feisty, challenging, and fiercely honest. She was generous, passionate, and strong. She wore her heart on her sleeve as she struggled to grow out of the adversity she was born to and tried to shine despite the many challenges she faced.
I thought, Surely there is someone better for her than me. Someone stronger. Someone smarter. I won’t have enough time or patience. I won’t know what to do or what to say.
But there wasn’t a line-up of ‘someone better’ around. Just me.
So I showed up. In 2012 I went through the application process to become that little girl’s Big Sister and we have been match since. Over the years we have done every activity you can imagine together – from baking cupcakes to going to hockey games (thanks to generous ticket donations) and everything in between. But to be completely honest, sometimes we just sit at Tim Horton’s goofing around on our phones or chat as we walk around Walmart because I need to pick up more toothpaste. I am not an infinite bank of fun ideas, and time, and money. I have a full-time job, and a son who plays hockey. I have bathrooms that need to be cleaned and lunches that need to be made. I am distracted and overscheduled. I am not perfect. But over time I’ve come to realize she has never needed me to be perfect, she just needed me to be there.