Big Sister challenge proves well worth the effort

I have decided to become a Big Sister. This, of course, begs the question, 'so what’?

I have decided to become a Big Sister.

This, of course, begs the question, ‘so what’? Lots of people, in fact, most people can say they are a sibling or have a sibling.

In real life; in my family of origin, I am and always will be the little sister.

Being the little sister means that when I was growing up I was usually forgiven for a multitude of sins such as being late, lost, forgetful, immature and the loser in card games, especially hearts.

None of that has changed.

It also means my big brother still calls me “kid” even though I have been a grandma for almost a decade.

I love it, being the little sister, which I will remain forever and ever, no matter how old I am.

But, in spite of my desire to hang onto my birth order identification, a few weeks ago, I decided to step out of the box of conformity and become a Big Sister.

Being a Big Sister means that for one hour once a week, I put life as I know it on hold and step out of my world and into the world of a child who has now become my Little Sister.’

I accepted the challenge of becoming a Big Sister after I had seriously contemplated it for about a minute and a half. I liked the idea, I wanted to help and I figured it couldn’t be that hard. After all, I had kids, grandkids and I was a sister to other people already, and they didn’t complain about it too much.

“Okay,” I said. “I’m in.”

I had written about the Big Sister, Big Brothers program, so I knew, at least, the Reader’s Digest version of what it involved. Go. Spend an hour with a kid. Show up. Don’t be late. And don’t forget.

And so it came to be that regardless of deadlines or stories or the fact political issues were raging in Alberta and reporters such as I seemed to hold the golden key as to what doors open and what doors close for these guys, for at least one hour, one day a week, I was busy. Too busy, in fact, to deal with any of the above.

The first time I met with my Little Sister I was a little grumpy because of all of this so-called responsibility. And in my head I was chanting the adult lament of being busy, too busy to do this.

In fact, I mentally chastised myself for making yet another impulsive decision without thinking it through. And, as I drove to the school, I decided being a Big Sister was just another thing to check off my to-do list.

I didn’t count on the feeling.

The feeling hit me right in the region where the heart is when I first laid eyes on my new Little Sister and she gave me “the look.”

You know, it’s that look kids give you that turns your heart to mush and makes you want to give them hugs and cookies and hot chocolate and read to them and do all kinds of things to make them feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.

“I like your earrings,” she said in her most grown up voice. “Thanks,” I said. “I like your hair.”

She smiled. I smiled. And so it began. Our friendship.

And suddenly, as the hallway clock ticked the hour away, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I was just where I was supposed to be and what was important was suddenly unimportant.

Before we knew it our time together was up. But when I stepped back into my adult world, I was a little calmer, a little richer and definitely a whole lot happier.

Because I had, in one short hour, discovered being a Big Sister was a gift. An unexpected, wonderful and special gift.

Who knew?