Thu 19 Apr 2012
During my senior year though I found a surrounding that allowed for my biggest social release of all: kids. I had reluctantly taken up a volunteer position at an elementary school’s after school program to fulfill those pesky community service hours; but from day one I immediately felt like I had found my second home.
My only previous experience with little tots were with my little cousins, whom I really enjoyed being around with and which drew me to sign up for this position. I was immediately drawn in by these kids’ nonjudgmental and genuine ways. I felt a level of comfort around them that few of my peers could provide me. I enjoyed the company of each and everyone of them, except for some of the more bratty ones. But even they had their good days.
However there was one little girl who really captured my heart.
It was 1st grader Mylissa, whose big bangs, big heart, and bubbly personality was one of the main reasons why I looked forward to coming back everyday. She was an only child whose parents were divorced. She lived only with her mother who worked all day long and was exhausted by the time she got home, unable to really fulfill the much needed role of both mom and dad in her daughther’s life.
On my second day of volunteering Mylissa approached me from out of nowhere. And from there, she started talking up a storm about the most random of things. I looked at the clock and saw that 15 minutes had passed and she was still talking. I came home that day thinking, interesting girl.
The next day and everyday on every time I saw Mylissa she greeted me with the tightest little hug that her tiny arms could manage to give, which at first I found to be a little weird. However eventually I would return her hug with a squeeze of my own that was as tight as I could manage careful that I wouldn’t crush her miniature body.
Every time I saw her she would tell me about her day down to every detail, from what she did to what she ate, to what she drew and who she talked to. I made dorky comments and jokes to her, she laughed, and I laughed. Her smiles lit up my heart. We grew closer. I had made her happy, and she had made me happy.
I could go on and on forever about our relationship, but I won’t.
After a few weeks I grew into a sort of big brother/father figure to her, a role unfamiliar to me since I don’t have any younger siblings or kids of my own.
But with her I felt like I had both. I was providing her with the attention that she lacked at home, which was a responsibility greater than what I was originally expecting when I first signed up for this volunteer position.
I never told many people about this bond that I had with this little girl. They could never have understood it. I never even really understood it. While other kids my age were out partying, hanging out with their boy/girlfriends, why was I spending my free time with this little girl?
I never really found a good answer to that, probably because I never really cared to find one. She began to grow emotionally through me, and I, an eighteen-year-old, was also growing as a result of being with this 6-year-old.
However as with all good things in life our bond had to eventually end. I was graduating from high school and moving on with life. I hadn’t expected to make such a close bond with anyone when I leafed through that binder of community service opportunities, and she certainly wasn’t expecting me. But somehow it happened.
I had told her to expect my leaving a few weeks before my last day to try to prepare her for it as best as she could, in hopes of keeping her waterworks factory production level to a minimum.
It didn’t work though.
As I was about to leave on my last day she cried up a storm. I didn’t know what to do or what to say to her. I simply tried to console her as best I could. The other kids and workers looked over at us thinking, come on now he wasn’t that special.
Okay I don’t know exactly what they were thinking, but I didn’t care.
I was somehow able to maintain my composure however, aside from a tear or two.
“We have to move on with our lives”, I told her.
She didn’t understand though.
I was going to be the second of two close male figures in her young life that was leaving her for good, and for no good reason at all–or at least any reason that a 6-year-old could manage to understand.
Life indeed is unfair.
All I could manage to say to her was, “I’m sorry Mylissa.”
At this point I figured that the sooner I left the better it’d be for the both of us. I then painfully said my last goodbye.
She then wiped her tears away, looked up at me with her big eyes and dimply cheeks, sniffled, and said to me one of the darndest things I’d ever heard anyone say to me, which, I still vividly remember to this day several years later as if it happened just yesterday.
She had said:
“Will you be my dad?”
They weren’t kidding when they said kids say the darndest things.
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 57 bytes) in /home/tech/domains/tienvannguyen.com/public_html/wp-includes/load.php on line 569