I spoke to my little sister on the phone today. She would hate to hear that phrase “little” in front of her name, given she is 16-years-old and has moved away from home. But she will always be my little sister. I am blessed with four little sisters and something happening over the last few weeks has made me think about them more than usual, although they are often in my thoughts. How old they are getting, but how small they are compared to the big, wide world I’ve been living in for longer than they have. How quickly the time has passed since they were wee babies and I was changing their nappies, taking them to the playground, or reading them a story while they cuddled on my lap. How sad I would be if they were gone one day, suddenly, and I had neglected each and every opportunity to talk to them, listen to them, and tell them I loved them.
This isn’t an entry about one woman who inspires me. But rather a perhaps unusual post where I want to remind you all of the inspiration that every young girl in our care – whether full-time as a parent or part-time as a “big sister” in their life – can find in their innocent little eyes, hopes and dreams and faith and trust in us to show them the way. They inspire us to live better lives so we can inspire them.
For some reason I was reminded of Maria Sue Chunxi Chapman and a beautiful song written for her and her sisters by her father. Maria was killed aged 5 in 2008 when her older brother accidentally ran a car over her in the family driveway. All too soon the chance to love and be loved by this earth angel was gone. Her father swore to never sing Maria’s song again, the pain was too great. But he couldn’t help but be inspired by his daughter’s life and spirit and wanted to honour the memory of Maria by continuing to sing her song, which has a particularly poignant chord after the tragedy.
Let’s not wait until it’s too late to be inspired by the Marias in our lives. Hopefully we will not live in the fear that their lives will be cut short, but they all grow far too fast as my “little” sister made very clear on the phone today, with her tales of college and boyfriend and busy social schedule and life away from mum and dad. They all eventually leave home to become independent. They may phone less and less. They may listen less and less to your advice. They grow strong ideas and opinions far removed from the dimpled lisps that used to hang on every word you uttered from their storybooks. But they will never stop needing your love and inspiration. Let that inspire you.
More: visit Maria’s father’s website here