I wrote the following post as my entry to Mabel’s Labels BlogHer ‘10 Contest. The contest requires that entrants write a blog post in response to the following hypothetical situation:
The stench of dirt and sweat and summertime-induced grime overwhelmed me as I leaned forward to give the little girl a hug. Story time was over. I tucked her in.
Her huge, magnificent, brown eyes met mine and as our glances connected, she whispered.
"Sometimes my daddy touches me," she confided.
The rest spewed out like foul vomit. I wanted her to stop. I didn't want to to hear this. I peered around the dark, musty cabin to see if any of the other girls were awake, but it appeared that they had all successfully drifted off.
I wasn't even a counselor, I was a C.I.T. - a counselor-in-training. What did I know? I certainly didn't know how to deal with this . . . and yet I summoned some surreptitious inner strength and held the girl tight and told her I was sorry and that it was going to be okay.
Was this even the truth, I wondered?
I knew from my training what came next. I spoke to the camp staff, relayed the story, and watched like a bystander as they contacted Children Services. To this day, I don't know what happened to her. Perhaps she was removed from her home, assigned to foster custody, or placed with another family member.
Yet, I think of her often. I wonder where she is, and how she is doing as a grown woman. After all, she was seven at the time and I was sixteen, so she is only nine years my junior. If I could see her, I would thank her. Thank her for confiding in me, for trusting me, and for igniting in me a passion that would manifest itself for years to come. An appreciation of children, a desire to coach, to teach, to love, and to strive to make the world a better place.