I've always been weird about "goodbye's"...or as I like to call them, "I'll see you later's". When you start the relationship, whether it's a new friend, a professor, a co-worker, whatever, you never really think about the "end" of it. Realistically, there is no actual "end" to a relationship, but you know what I mean. I'm talking about that moment when you know it's not going to be how it normally is...When the monotony is broken.
Today, I had one pretty big "I'll see you later". Two and a half years ago, I signed up to be a Big for the mentor program called Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Bigs go into the schools once a week to spend time with their "match", who is an elementary school student. The Big is a role model and someone to truly develop a friendship. These matches can last anywhere from a single semester to a few years. For me, I closed my match about an hour ago, two and a half years after my relationship with Anna began.
Rewind those two and a half years. I remember the day I met the little blondie. She was much more shy and MUCH shorter then. The first time I said "hello" she blushed and hid her little 7-year-old smile. Now, she's basically 8 feet taller and a confident, intelligent, hysterical young girl. Now I know what adults feel like when they talk about kids growing up quickly. It's weird.
Looking back on our match, I've learned much more than I had expected. I've learned that I was a role model for this little girl. She's matured. She's dealt with problems. She's grown. I like to think that I had a small part of that. I've been someone to look up to. But she's not the only one who's grown. I have. She's shown me the value of staying young, running around with friends. She's shown me how even children can be leaders. She's reminded me that kids are creative and intelligent. Maybe I don't ever really talk about any dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, but my relationship with Anna has definitely helped. She's given me hope and excitement towards student teaching and my future career. It's crazy how just one little girl can be so inspirational.
As I was saying "I'll see you later", Anna's mother gave me a gift. Today, I have officially started my very own Pandora bracelet collection, and I couldn't be more excited. My fancy new thin leather bracelet came with a little watering can. Anna and her mother explained that they chose the watering can because that's what I was for Anna; I helped her grow. Some presents are generic; not this one. This present is something I will keep forever and add a charm to any time something momentous happens. Thank you, Anna and Mom, for starting my lifelong collection.
I couldn't be happier I signed up for this program. If you ever get the opportunity, don't hesitate. You'll get much more out of it than you could have ever expected. For now, "I'll see you later, Anna".