By Sonya Laughlin
Last week I was privileged to oversee a girls’ residence hall with 10 of the most wonderful young ladies that you could ever meet. My first shift was an overnight stay, and I came in at 8:00 p.m. feeling a little tired and about ready for bed myself. I walked in the door, and there were three beautiful little girls all clad in their nighttime attire waiting to give me hugs. I allowed them to play for awhile while I checked on the “big girls.”
When 9:00 p.m. rolled around, I quickly came to the realization that it was getting to be bedtime for the little girls. “Can we have a story?” they asked simultaneously. Of course, they all had a different book in mind, so we sat snuggled on the sofa as I read each of their choices. As per usual, I get very animated when I read to them, and I soon had them all mesmerized with a story about a little girl who used her imagination to concoct playmates of every shape and size, followed by the other stories that were not so mesmerizing. Soon the stories were completed, and although they all negotiated for one more, it was bedtime. As I tucked them all in, gave hugs and said prayers; I realized how much I love this place.
As soon as they were in bed, it was time for some older girl time. We talked about families and how we should start our healthy eating campaign for the New Year. Some had specific goals in mind, while others just listened. I gave sage advice and encouraged them all as best I could. They also talked about where they came from and how long they had been here. Some were relatively new, while others had been here several years. We reminisced about how they looked and acted when they arrived and how far they had come. And there it was again….that overwhelming feeling that I am the one that is blessed to know them and have a chance to mentor and love them.
As I sit here and type this, there is a lump in my throat, not of sadness but of heartfelt gratitude to God for placing us here, and for allowing us to be a part of these wonderful children’s lives for over 18 years now. The faces change all the time, but the potential impact that we can have on them never does, and the impact that they have on me, cannot be measured in numbers.