Monday, April 8, 2013

I Know A Scintillating Star!

Perfect Moment:

Yesterday, I went to lunch with a friend. As we stood near the checkout, peering into a menu and trying to decide what to order, someone bumped into me from behind.  I’m not talking about the kind of light bump that leads to the usual startled, “Oops, I’m sorry!” but something firmer than that and with a lot more intent. I dropped my menu and snatched my purse from my shoulder, clutching it to my belly.  I didn’t have anything else valuable on me.  No pockets full of bills or even a watch.  “Oh, excuse me,” said my bumper in a haughty and far from apologetic tone.  She didn’t back up.  I turned, fire in my eyes, ready to do battle but instead of facing a mugger, I found myself looking into the laughing eyes of one of my favorite people on the planet!  My Little Sister and I embraced and laughed together and that was a perfect moment.  It was perfect because it was surprising and funny, but also because I cherish having friends who know me so well that they know exactly how to push my buttons and make me laugh at myself.  With friends like that, I know that I am loved all the way through; my quirks, flaws, fears, weaknesses and failings are loved as much as my strengths and talents. 

This month marks the 11-year anniversary of my first meeting with my Little Sister (it’s not her name, but let’s call her Star, since she is STELLAR).  
Star and I were matched by the Juneau Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) staff when she was 6 years old. 
We went on our first “match activity” the day we were introduced.  We bought sandwiches and snacks for a picnic lunch and Star insisted on carrying all of the groceries out to my car herself.  She wasn’t sure if she liked dogs, but she liked scary movies, so I told her I had a Big Black Monster in my car. She decided right away that she liked my dog Cavall.
During our first year as Big and Little, we invented our own clapping game that gets faster & faster until one of us makes a mistake or doubles over in laughter.  She’s an amazing young woman of 17 now, but we still play our clapping game occasionally.

Every BBBS match is different.  Participants are usually expected to make a one-year commitment to the match but many friendships flower and extend long beyond the first year.

From early in our match, it was obvious to friends and family on both sides, that Star and I would be a long match, perhaps a permanent one.  Our personalities always “clicked”.

We enjoy lots of the same activities and share a sense of adventure. 
I made certain to expose Star to plenty of folk music.  Each year during the Alaska Folk Festival, we went to a concert or two together.  Many times when we met, our match activity involved playing Peter, Paul & Mary, John Prine, Pete Seeger, Jim Croce, Simon & Garfunkle, or Nancy Griffith at high volume in my car CD player.  We always sang along at the top of our lungs. For two years, Star wanted to listen to “Wake Up Little Susie” over and over again as many times as I would let her!
I taught Star to enjoy onion rings.
I encouraged her to jump off the high dive and watched with pride when she made the leap the first time.

Star gave me one of the best compliments of my life the day she told me that I was “the funniest grown-up” she knew.
Whenever she spent the night at my house, I read aloud to her as she fell asleep.  Later, when she learned to read and became interested in novels, we took turns reading to each other.  I always handed the book back to her and made her read any gooshy romance parts!
Sometimes when I’m reading aloud to Star, I like to add details and dialogue that aren’t really in the book.  It’s fun to see how quickly she catches on to my game.

She never falls for my April Fool’s tricks anymore, either.

She can sing a dynamite and super-speedy version of “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea”.  I taught her to do that.

These and a thousand other facts add up to a friendship that has shaped my life as much as Star’s.

Together, we imagine what our lives will be like years and decades from now.  I expect her to be surprising me and making me laugh well into my dotage.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is an international organization that matches and provides support to kids and volunteers who build friendships and have fun together.  These matches have significant and measurable impacts and you should go to one or both of these links to read about the impressive outcome data:

What do you do to ensure your life is filled with perfect moments?

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