Starting out as a Big and Little Sister is always unique, it unfolds as your relationship and trust gradually builds and wends it’s way like a river.
When Kate and I met for the first time on a crisp November day and began our Big Sister Little Sister journey together, we certainly had no idea about what the world had in store! Kind of a good metaphor for life as it turns out
That first meeting was The Girl Code workshop (a powerful group event exploring affirmations around self-respect) and was a little out of the ordinary as Kate joined the program part way through. I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable on my own as all the other Big and Little Sisters were paired up, starting to get into rapport. I spotted Kate and we immediately discovered a shared passion for stationery checking out each other’s notebook and pen choices – Paperchase shares went through the roof!
We were lucky enough to meet face to face for a couple of monthly sessions and found that Kate enjoyed creating as she talked as it helped with the flow of conversation. I could see her talent for art unfold in intricate jewel coloured drawings, painted mantra stones and posters.
And then we paused…… Schools were closed. Contact between Big and Little Sisters ceased while the world tried to figure out what to do next.
I pivoted in all areas of life not knowing what was to unfold, trying to keep it all together. I thought of Kate – how is she doing and adapting to home schooling, family dynamics, not able to see friends.
We were able to write cards and letters for Christmas and over the summer had 2 telephone calls. Very different but we showed up, kept the commitment and kept communication flowing with whatever we were given.
My biggest learning as a Big Sister is that listening, really listening with all your senses, is everything. For a woman to be heard with no judgement is so important. Kate shared her experiences, challenges with friendships, motivation, missing sport her outlet her passion. And also tales of walks to watch the sunrise, music being a companion, completing Netflix and a new love of Asos!
Next turn of the river was moving to Google Meet as she returned to school. Challenging in its own way but we could see each other and made it work supporting through exam prep and returning to school life. The program usually lasts around a year. This one was nearly 2 all together and the Little Sisters had changed so much – we could see their confidence and resilience.
We were given the gift of a face to face distanced graduation as a final turn of the river.
Hearing Kate user her voice to read a beautiful poem she had written describing her Little Sister journey made my heart sing. Seeing her recognise that some of her friendships were not allowing her to be their authentic self and were toxic – and speaking up and take the brave step to move on was so inspiring.
As the river ran into the sea and our journey together ended all I could think was thank you Kate and watch out world she’s coming to get you!