For confidentiality reasons, I wish to keep the details vague to protect the anonymity of the person who inspires me, for the person who inspires me is a child, once living in a local children’s home.
In 2016, I volunteered to become a mentor to a child living in a children’s home. The director paired me with a sweet little girl in the 4th grade. I visited her at her home, a castle-like structure built-in 1909 by the Knights of Pythian. We first met in a room that still had the original design and furniture of the 1900s. Unruffled by the ancient decor, we sat on the floor and colored.
Over several months, I was able to go to her school for lunch. We sat at the coveted table where wide-eyed children sat with visiting parents sipping Sprite eating Chic-filet while all the other children looked on. It was a badge of honor of sorts for those elementary kids, and we looked forward to it every two weeks.
After about six months, she started to spend one weekend a month at my house. I taught her how to make scrambled eggs, bake a cake, and make slime. We hiked trails, tie-dyed, and binge- watched goofy kid shows on Netflix.
I never pried into her background nor pressed her for details, and she disclosed very little over the years I spent with her. However, I understand the adversities she must have endured.
After four years, that sweet child was able to leave the children’s home to live with a distant family member. Her departure was sudden, unexpected, and a miracle. We didn’t get to say goodbye.
What inspires me the most about her is her resiliency. She has lived most of her little life not knowing what would happen one day to the next, so she chooses to live life as if it were just a loose garment.
She trusted me when she had absolutely no reason to do so. She smiled at the little things, and she smiled a lot. She looked forward to a bright future filled with gymnastics, fluffy fleece hoodies, and a car. She loved a nice car! She taught me to live in the moment and to enjoy what is right here, right now.
I hope she never forgets the time we spent together and remembers the friendship and love we grew to have. I hope I never forget to live one day at a time and to savor every one of them. I hope she inspires everyone she meets the same way she inspires me.