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Life Lessons I am Learning from a 12 year-old

My life is hectic. Between running must! charities, raising two high school teenagers (which entails keeping up with their crazy schedules), keeping a home organized, investing in my marriage, and investing in friends & family… it’s busy, busy, busy. It’s not often that I slow the pace down enough to be able to enjoy all that is before me. A pace I long for often, but truly don’t put the effort into making it really happen unless I’m on vacation in a remote place where I am forced to “un-plug”

or…  spending the day with my little sister.

I’ve been paired with my little sister, through Big Brothers Big Sisters, for over a year now. I can’t begin to tell you the life lessons she is teaching me every time we are together.  When I am with her I am committed to focusing all my attention on her.  I need to invest in her, because I am her mentor and it’s important that I give her my 100%.

Twice a month I pick my little sister up from school and we hang out. This week was a bonus because she had a minimum school day – which meant more time for fun (and homework too).  We had the whole day planned.  It entailed going through the “golden arches” drive thru – not my favorite, but it was her choice so I obliged on some salty fries, a soda and a burger. We drove out to Chapel Hill for a picnic lunch. It was the perfect day for a picnic – puffy white clouds, sunshine, and a slight breeze. We began the hike to the top of the hill – stopping to admire the views on the way up (an excuse for me to catch my breath – she’s smart… she caught on and giggled). Once at the top we enjoyed our lunch together and talked about the wildflowers in the distance, how green the hills are right now, her grades in school, what she observes on her campus and how kids treat each other, what she thinks she wants to be when she grows up, and all kinds of other things.  She asks me a million questions about life, about what I studied in school, and about what I think about decisions she might make in her future.

She is not a fast eater… so, when we enjoy a meal together it is a time to be still and talk. To breathe deeply. To notice all that is around us. I am so very thankful for this time.  It is a time when I am reminded of how I should live life. Present in the moment, peaceful and un-hurried. It is so good for my soul.

The best part of it all, my little sister has no idea of this gift she gives me each time we are together. It is how she rolls when we are together.  She takes her time with things and has a calm, kind spirit about her, which radiates out and is contagious. Maybe her daily life is hectic too, and we’re good for each other.

We enjoyed the afternoon taking cool pictures of our surroundings, then off for a swim and later played rounds of Uno and Blink – two of her favorite card games.  The time flies by, and I have to take her home. We chat in the car about what we should do the next time – “Rainbow Grilled Cheese Sandwich” making (thank you Pinterest) and a painting project with Emma (my oldest daughter who teaches both of us how to paint).

So thankful for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, but most importantly for the little sister I get to invest in… though often I feel like it’s the other way around – such an amazing gift!