“We’re going to have to make a run for it” I said looking over at this shy little girl sitting in the passenger seat of my car “are you ready?”
She nodded her head and gave me the tiniest little smile, looking out the car window at the downpour just outside.
“Okay, go” I said, jumping out of the car, locking the doors, running around to grab her hand and running across the parking lot into the mall. By the time we made it inside, we were soaked, and in hysterics. The sound of her giggles warmed my heart up. And it was in that moment that I knew I would love her forever. It was in that moment that our bond as “sisters” was sealed.
Lil’ K was barely 8 years old, and I had just met her that afternoon. After an extensive interview process and background check, I had finally been matched up with my little sister through Big Brother Big Sister. I was 26 years old, single, with no prospect of a husband or kids anywhere in the near future, and I knew I needed to do something to quiet down the maternal instinct that had been nagging at me. I also knew that I was blessed to have a good life, a great family, and a strong head on my shoulders, and if I could use those blessings to reach out to a little girl, and make a difference in her life, I had an obligation to do so.
For the most part, I did it for selfish reasons. I was lonely, bored, going through a tough time with both a recent break-up and a stupid fight with some friends that left me wandering why I bothered, and I was desperate to find meaning in my life.
But I had always wanted to join BBBS, and I knew this was the time.
I know now that not only was making that call the most important decision I have ever made, I also know it was my destiny, my calling, my fate. It would set me on a path that has led me to today, that has made me the person I am. It would, quite literally, change my life.
Today is Lil K’s 17th birthday. SEVENTEEN. She is beautiful, she is smart, she is bright and fun, and mysterious and silly, she is frustrating and delightful. She is a teenager. She is a lady. She is still that little girl. She is a young woman.
What Lil K’ and I realized that day, nine years ago, at the mall was that we were kindred spirits. They couldn’t have matched two people up more perfectly. Our souls were created for one another in heaven, and it was only a matter of time before we’d find each other.
I love her as my own child, I worry about her as my own child, I celebrate her successes as my own child and I suffer her pains the same. She gives me reason to be, and hope that I am doing something valuable while on this earth.
I have seen her grow from that shy young girl who would speak to no one to a strong young woman who will speak her mind. I’ve seen her struggle with troubles, only to come out shining on the other end, bigger, better, and brighter than ever.
She’s joined my family as one of our own, celebrating holidays, birthdays and all other events with us. And as she’s gotten older, she’s become a dear friend as well, someone I can have conversations with.
I am 35, single, with no kids. But in the last 9 years I have never felt that nagging maternal instinct again, because whenever it would even try, it would be reminded that in Lil K, I have fulfilled it. Whether or not I ever have kids of my own, it won’t matter, because with Lil’ K, I have parented, I have loved unconditionally, and I have grown.
And as she continues to amaze and bless me, to mature and flourish, my heart swells.
Happy Birthday Lil’ K, you are and always will be my baby girl, my sister, my friend.