But that was my concern when I first ventured into Bigs’ territory with Rylee, who was 12 at the time. I wanted our outings to be memorable, extra … something she would always remember.
I racked my brain for ideas that would really knock her socks off and get her excited about our outings, but when the time came to pick her up, I kept coming up short.
Or did I?
It turns out walking along the Boardman River was special. So was cooking in my kitchen, bringing her to help at my yoga classes, getting ice cream and a bunch of other completely ordinary activities I never would have deemed as special.
Heck, just this past week she drove me to Gordon’s Food Service, where I picked up toilet paper, paper towels and other odds and ends for Yen Yoga, where I work. It was part of our outing, which must seem weird until you understand that we have been working on getting her 50 hours of adult-supervised driving done before her next driver’s education session begins in December.
What have we been doing on these drives? Nothing special, that’s for sure. Sometimes we stop and get a Gobbler from Mary’s Kitchen Port (a Rylee fave!) Sometimes we practice going through car washes and other mundanities – like parking or filling up the tank.
Like me, you might think by becoming a Big you have to do all this out-of-the-ordinary stuff to keep a kid’s interest, but it turns out all your Little really wants is you.
Your time. Your attention. Your smile. Your encouraging words.
Maybe you don’t consider those things special enough to hold a kid’s interest, but Rylee’s big smile hello and hugs good-bye tell me something different.
The miracle of making a difference starts with you showing up, again and again. What’s done after that point is irrelevant.
And that showing up time and again through the years with your smile, words and attention is the secret of knocking a kid’s socks off.
Becky Kalajian, Big Sister