Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Giving and endings

Last night, I celebrated the birthdays of two good friends at a local restaurant. In 10 days, they are moving to Oregon, and I didn't want to give them anything more to pack. We visited and laughed as we always do, and at the end, they took turns taking pictures of me with each of them and sent me copies today. Somehow, no matter how I try, they always give back more than I gave. I will miss them so much. I have e-mail addresses, a home address, and cell phones. And they promise they have a bedroom waiting for me to visit. And I am so happy for them.

I am developing new friendships, but how do you replace 35 years? I think about the wagon trains of years past, when families said goodbye to everyone they knew, every THING they knew, and went on. How did they do it? They did. They did. Wow.

Last week, I had my last mentoring session with my two girls. I worked with families--i.e. kids-- for 13 years, without the wrench very often I felt Thursday.. My fourth grader becomes a fifth grader, so I can continue to work with her. My fifth grader goes on to middle school, so fifth grade is a kind of graduation. I worked weekly with these girls, one hour with one, two hours with the other, and yes, son, they are MY GIRLS. I am invested in them. Funny so little time can make such a difference. The principal says their academic scores in the school overwide are coming up. Some of it is our schoolwork with them, but I am convinced some of it is the fact they know more people are cheering them on to succeed. I gave my fourth grader a silver charm of a turtle to remind her that next year we won't hurry to catch up but work steadily to keep up, because, I said, "I want you to win." She lookd at me and said, "That makes me want to cry, but I won't." And she did love the charm.

One of the dangers of any volunteer work is the guilt we feel at what we get back for volunteering. No matter how much you give, to friends or the community, you always get more back than you gave. I understand that now. But it still is not always comfortable.


DW said...

You Have been tagged, you can blame Ralph.

Matt G said...

He means that you're supposed to fill out the "MeMe" represented here, Mom.

Copy the questions, answer 'em on your blog, and tap out a similar number of people to answer them on theirs.