It’s a Match - Thoughts on Meeting My Little Sister
By: Elisabeth Rhoads
I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, but I think I felt something of the same anticipation, excitement, and curiosity when I found out that I had finally been matched with my Little. I had volunteered for the program three months before I was matched, and I eagerly checked in with my Match Support Specialist every month to see if she had found my Little. Every month she thanked me for checking in and thanked me for my patience, and then asked me to continue to be patient while they waited for the right Little.
At the end of three months, I was beginning to think that they might not find someone, but my fears were alleviated when I got a lengthy email with the exciting news that I had a match! It contained all sorts of details: a profile on my Little, her home life, her relationship with her parents, where she lived, what she liked, what she disliked, her expectations, her parents expectations, and more. I was a little overwhelmed by all the details, but there was one thing I was very excited about – my Little sounded a lot like me!
I know that all matches are different, but I was so excited that we had so much in common. If a profile had been written about me when I was younger, it would have read very similarly to the one I read about my Little, Micah. I started daydreaming about our awesome outings, and then I skipped ahead about ten years and imagined helping her with her college entrance essay and then traveling through Europe together. I thought about all my life experience and I determined to teach her everything that I knew and hopefully more!
New experiences; whether traveling internationally, moving to a new state, or beginning boxing classes, have always excited and inspired me. But when the day of the flight, the move, or the first class comes, my stomach turns to knots, and I think about all the things that could go wrong. Meeting my Little, Micah, for the first time was no different. I had bursitis in my knee from an accident after wrestling with (get this) my adult brothers. It was swollen to twice the normal size, and I was on a heavy dose of ibuprofen. I had also just gone through a career 180 and was still trying to find my footing in that area of my life. I had imagined meeting Micah as this awesome career woman with her life together, and instead I limped into her house, literally.
After 3 months of waiting, I finally met her Mom, her little sister, and of course, her, Micah. I could tell that she was excited, but she was shy, just like I was when I was younger and meeting someone for the first time. She interacted a lot with her baby sister at first and wouldn’t really make eye contact with me, instead looking at her mom when responding to me or the Match Support Specialist.
Strangely enough, this put me at ease. I had a lot of experience with shyness, being a shy child myself. I knew that Micah would probably feel most comfortable if she had some space. Her mom was really friendly and easy to talk to, so we chatted throughout most of the meeting. There was some paperwork to fill out, and we talked about our expectations for the match. It had been so long since I had done the interview process to become a Big that I couldn’t remember exactly what I wrote as my expectations. I suddenly felt panicky, like I had come unprepared to a test. I responded with something off the cuff, and I hoped that it matched with whatever I had written or said in my interview process. No one looked at me weird, so I think it did.
Finally, the paperwork was done and the meeting came to a close. We went outside and the Match Support Specialist took a picture of me and Micah in front of the bricks outside her house. We took a picture; no big deal. Then the Match Support Specialist told us to try a photo with silly faces. Micah and I made eye contact. We giggled and both admitted to being bad at taking silly pictures. One, awkward, silly photo later, our match journey began.
If you want to start your match journey as well, click here to learn more about volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Elisabeth and Micah