Zanna the Wonderpup was due for her second segment of hunter puppy training at Decatur, so we decided to take Little Brother along and make a weekend of it. His eyes gleaming with the promise of swimming at the hotel, he buckled up and settled down in the back seat, new Ipod jamming, earphones in, sometimes singing along. You've been there - you're trucking along, and all of a sudden, a song you know is being sung, sans music, from the back seat, and wonder of wonders, you know the song, too? Well, there we were. He's got a great voice, and always cracks us up with his song choices - he loves the 80's bands!
As I drove and ThatManILove settled down to do some computer work, we counted back. LB1 was my “Little” first, and he was 8 years old when I first met him at his school. I would go in for an hour, once a week, and the principal would take him out of class and we would just hang out on the school premises. (This is what Big Brothers Big Sisters call “a school-based match” –since I was on the Big Brothers Big Sisters board, I wasn’t allowed to have a community based match. This policy has since changed. ) Around Christmas, when we were making his mom a surprise Christmas tile, I visited with his grandma to arrange surprise delivery of the present.
At that point, Grandma politely told me that though LB loved my school visits, that their desire was that he be matched with a man who could take him to activities outside of the school. I told her that they had him signed up for the wrong program – that I would call (as my heart was breaking!) and ask their coordinator to call them and get LB signed up for the community program. Not too long afterwards, ThatManILove got a call…they had a match for him in the community based program. To our surprise, that match was my former Little! And Little Brother’s been a huge part of our lives ever since.
We arrive at the Anderson Ranch, let Zack and Zanna out of the truck, and LB starts exploring the grounds. It had recently rained, so everything was wet and muddy. LB goes and checks out all the different dog breeds, the Labs, the German Shorthairs, and the Walker Coon dogs. LB goes to all the barns, and checks out the contents. There, he finds the baby goats, and falls in love. The Andersons let the babies out so LB can play with them. Meanwhile, the family cat is all over him, and later follows him up on the trampoline, where they jump together. (Sorry, LB’s Mom – hopefully Shout will get all that dirt out of that white t-shirt, and we bought him replacement tennis shoes!) Then, he climbs all over the new Ranger Polaris, and asks to drive it. No way, Jose!
We make it to the hotel, where we’ve arranged for connecting rooms. We arranged for his room to have two doubles in case he doesn't want to stay there by himself. He’s a little nervous about staying in a room by himself, but gets over it quickly after moving freely between the two rooms and realizing we’re right there. ThatManILove goes into LB’s room, and they order the Simpsons movie. They laugh throughout the movie.
LB wakes up with the chickens, and has to go downstairs to grab breakfast. He's starving, he says, and can't wait for us to get ready. (We call him the bottomless pit.) He finishes breakfast, comes back up to the rooms; by then, ThatManILove wants to go to the Waffle House. I'm eating fruit, and LB is now into a movie, so ThatManILove goes by himself. Before he can even get back to the hotel, LB is hungry again - but the breakfast area at the hotel has been closed. I call ThatManILove, and ask him to order an omelette to go for LB. ThatManILove laughingly says, "The Bottomless Pit strikes again?" Soon after, it’s swimming time, and they finally come back up to the room at 2pm, exhausted. We pack up, and head out to eat lunch (LB ate a huge Mexican plate) and drive home. It was a great weekend!
People try to recruit Big Brothers and Big Sisters because it's a way to bless a child. They've got it all wrong...I promise you, we're the ones that are blessed.