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Big Sister, Little Sister

about me core4 first time mom raising children self identity sense of self
sisters, hugging, children, toddlers, family

During the infancy of this blog I’m turning the vulnerability spotlight on myself so that you can really get to know me at the deepest level that a blog connection can create. To that end, I’ve been attic diving into old papers, photos, and VHS tapes (yes, you read that right) and unearthed this gem of an essay.

This following essay was written in 1994. I was a senior in high school preparing to apply to colleges.  When I wrote this at 17 years old it had a purpose (send away as a college essay), but as I recently sat in the humid dark of my summer-in-Vermont attic reading it at 45 years old I was struck by my adolescent words.

There are sentences that speak directly to my Then and Now soul. They tell me who I've always been my true nature and how I got here. Opening up the vault of my adolescence is as fascinating and exciting as it is terrifying, and revealing. But I really am excited to share this with you!

I am ready to be vulnerable about who I was and who I am, and all the experiences that have brought me here to you to write this blog to inspire, to engage, to empower and to educate, with the big goal of enriching your life and your children's lives.

Stay Mindful,

Cara

P.S. - Although I was VERY tempted to edit my work from 1994, I didn’t. I mean… it was H.A.R.D! 

P.P.S - I didn’t actually become a doctor. And that’s ok.

 

She has taught me how to be courageous, how important love is and what a big job responsibility is.

 

I first met Tia when I volunteered to be a big sister at the Saxtons river elementary school. I decided to become involved because there had always been a special place in my heart for children. Once I made the decision to devote myself to a child in need of love I never expected that I would, in turn, receive just as much love. I never expected that spending time with Tia would steer me toward a career combining medicine and working with children. 

At first, Tia was a reserved child, who seemed to want to open up to somebody, but something was stopping her. Slowly, Tia’s shy nature dissolved to produce a little girl looking for a friend. During our visits we began to have an incredible amount of fun. For example, once a week during the winter of 1992, I would accompany her to a skating rink and together we would attempt to skate. Since we were both major league beginners this often could be an interesting sight but we always had a wonderful time together. Tia is full of ideas and possesses a great amount of energy and I sometimes feel as though I'm already too old to keep up with her. But I always manage and feel younger for it in the end. 

I realized that my role as her “big sister” was not only to help her enjoy life. It was also to teach her the skills she needed in order that her life may have quality.  I would take Tia to my school to eat lunch with the “big kids”. She loved our trips, but would make a spectacle of herself. She was extremely loud, would climb under the tables, and eat with her hands. Over the past two years I've worked with Tia to help refine these manners. Just recently during one of our lunch dates, she amazed me. Instead of taking the hot dog in her hand, dipping it in ketchup and eating it as she usually did. She picked up a knife and fork and cut the hot dog into bite sized pieces, and proceeded to eat the entire meal with utensils. 

Working with Tia in the classroom has been another experience altogether. Learning to read and write have been difficult for her, but just this year, I sensed a determination to succeed. When she first opened the book I gave her for Christmas, she was sure she couldn't read it, but each week since then she has shown pride in her slow but steady games. 

One day I arrived early to find her proudly reading the story to the class that she had written about me. The attention given to her by her second grade classmates showed me how much respect they had for her efforts. 

Tia has been an amazing influence on me for the past two years. And I know when I move on to college to further my education and Tia moves on to third grade to further hers it will be virtually impossible for me to let go of the little girl who has made such an impact in shaping my life. 

She has taught me how to be courageous, how important love is and what a big job responsibility is. I will always cherish her, and will use the teaching skills she has nurtured in me, in order to improve the quality of other children's lives.

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