A few weeks ago my weekly smile was receiving an invitation to a wedding from a young girl I had mentored from 2004 until 2008. I volunteered in a “Big Sister”/Mentoring program and I was paired up with a young girl who had a troubled home life and needed some time away from it once a week after school for a few hours. This young girl was 10 or 11 at the time, and we would go out to eat and talk, or go shopping and then out to eat. There were 6 kids in the family and a mother who couldn’t really handle it, a father rarely home, the house was a mess, no order whatsoever. The older kids seemed to be keeping things running. Her age belied her maturity- she was introspective about the home situation and accepting of it, her intelligence allowing her to see the bigger picture and make sense of it all. I stayed in the role of “big sister” for about 4 years until she was a teenager and busy with school and going out with her friends. I have not thought of her in years, actually forgetting about this volunteering of so long ago-that had ended in 2008 .
Last month I received a wedding invitation from this young girl- now a young woman. I was very touched and so surprised that she had not only remembered me but had taken the time to send me an invitation.
Last night was the wedding- and as I approached her to say hello, not sure if she would recognize me, she immediately called my name and came over to hug me. She told me how happy she was to receive my response card that I was coming. She then went on to tell me she had saved all the letters I had written to her when she was in sleep away camp as a child, and that is how she had my address. It was all I could do to hold back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes along with the lump in my throat.
I watched as she came down the aisle embarking on the beginning of her new life, thinking back to the child I had spent time with. Remembering again how we never know the impact we may have in someone’s life, and the imprint we may leave on the them.