So I've been an official Gwen's Girls mentor since March of 2014. If you recall, I wanted to get connected to one girl, but that's not the set-up. So I go every Wednesday and work with all of the girls (up to 13 at a time). Just like in real life, I'm the engineer of fun. I let them use my wifi hotspot [sometimes], I play games with them and I take them to fun experiences (Usually sports games or cultural events.)
About a week ago, two of the girls that I'm closest with told me they were getting put into foster homes. When I found out they were leaving I cried like a baby... in the parking lot though, not in front of them. The reaction came out of left field and I analyzed it and realized I had so many things going on. I knew that I loved my girls, but I didn't realize how concerned I would be with their outcomes. I really want to make sure that they make it. High school, college, families of their own, I want them to be afforded every opportunity and if they are not within the parameters of the group home, then I don't have access to their outcomes.
I also was dealing with some self-doubt. My love language is spending time [or quality time, whatever]. That's how I show my love for these girls, or my friends, or my family or a significant other. I'm not the words of affirmation "you mean so much to me, let me tell you all about it" person. Sometimes I feel like that's a handicap and in not being able to express myself verbally to the girls [or anyone really], I was concerned that they wouldn't truly understand how much I care and that they would just leave and I'd never see them again.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday, the last day, I'd see them in the group home [and potentially ever again]. I got them both cards and photo frames with pictures of us at one girl's first Steelers game the other girls' first Pirates game. I hugged them and gave them all my contact info, since there was no way to know if I'd see them again. They LOVED the gifts.One girl told me no one had ever given her a photo in a frame before. [that broke my heart, but then reinforced what I knew. What I'm doing is important and you never know the large impact your small contribution can have on someone's life.]
It was at that moment that I decided to let this "you need to be more verbally intimate" notion go. [My therapist said] I beat myself up so many times for everything I'm not and rarely give myself credit for everything I am. I complete an accomplishment and forget I completed it and then get mad about everything I haven't done.
I showed my love by taking them to games and leaving work on time [no small feat] every Wednesday to hang with them. And what I left them with, a photo of those good times, is something that's way more impactful than any string of awkward words I could put together to "say" that I care.
So, all of that to say: 1. Mentoring is going well. AND 2. Who I am right now, without fixes or changes or improvements, is enough. I am enough.