I was supposed to meet my potential “Little” last night. Just a recap – I few months ago I decided to volunteer as a mentor for Boston’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program, which pairs an adult volunteer with a child of their same gender between the ages of 7 and 13. Once matched, you meet with you “Little” about twice a month for a few hours at a time and do fun stuff together and chat.
This has been a very long process. It started with a one-on-one nearly two-hour interview with the coordinator, during which we covered lots of personal topics like romantic relationships, any past trauma, what my relationships are like with my parents, brother, friends, etc.
Then she searched for a match for me. It was weeks before someone who seemed might fit both geographically (they generally don’t want you to have to drive too far to get to your Little), and personality-wise.
After weeks of waiting, the coordinator called me on the phone and gave me some information about the Potential Little and her family, and I confirmed that yes, she sounds like a perfectly tolerable nine-year old and I would like to meet her. “There is one thing though,” said the coordinator, “they requested someone in their 20 or 30s”
The truth stung a bit, I’ll admit. She went on to tell me that when she didn’t think this would be an issue. That I was “young at heart”, and sort of hip, and not a typical 40-something (My hair is pruple! Did you tell them I’m cool with purple hair?!).
Later, when I talked to Meg about the latest developments in finding a kid to mentor, she said “By ‘young at heart’ did she mean ‘old and jaded’?” Old and jaded actually sounds way more interesting, but I appreciated the coordinator’s compliment.
That said, it gave me pause, this request for a younger person. Much like when dating, I know I’m a good person. I know I’m a catch, but it’s just not so easy to say “I’m the right one!” and have it work out. I was able to separate myself from the emotional reaction (geez, I guess I am not 30 anymore and I’m feeling judged for it) and stay in reality and in the end, the family was “very excited to meet you” was what the coordinator had reported to me.
Next was the meeting phase of the process. My coordinator was to meet me at the home of my Potential Little and I would meet her and her family. After that, the coordinator would chat with both parties to discuss moving forward and matching the two of us. or not.
With the snow coming our meeting was delayed twice, including last night’s meeting, and as I drove home from work the coordinator called to tell me about a “recent development”. While it appeared to have nothing to do with me, I will no longer be meeting this particular Potential Little and her family after all. Something going on in their lives (“It’s not you it’s me!”) changed things.
That was fine. We’ll keep looking. I did however have a moment after I hung up the phone with the coordinator where I wondered, what if this keeps happening? What if there are potential Littles that come along and none work out? Is there a chance that I’ll have to go pick up trash at the side of the road because while I think that’s a really important volunteer thing to do, it’s just not MY thing because we can’t find someone who wants me to hang out with their kid?
I will choose to tell myself that the first potential Little just wasn’t the right Little for me.