At the end of March our family participated, for the fourth time, in TAMU's Big Event. Big Event - the largest one-day, student-run service project in the country (more than 22,000 students volunteered this year) - is an opportunity for TAMU students to collectively say "thank you" to the residents and communities of Bryan and College Station for supporting them while they attend the University. Students share this message of thanks by spending the better part of a Saturday completing projects like yard work, interior and exterior painting, and window washing for individuals, families, homeowners associations, and businesses throughout BCS.
I started writing about this year's event immediately after it took place but eventually put the post on hold because I teared up each time I reached the "punchline paragraph". I finally returned to the draft this past weekend.
As was the case in 2012, 2013, and 2014, we had an overwhelmingly positive experience with Big Event. Tom and I received help on a yard project that, had we completed it ourselves, would have taken us the entire weekend. Will and Hallie - after meeting, engaging with, and witnessing the hard work and generosity of the "big girls" - were once again prompted to ask questions about teamwork, volunteering, and giving back to and improving our community. I truly appreciate this annual opportunity to meet, get to know, and work alongside a handful of TAMU college students.
After more than three hours of work, we finished the job. Instead of running to their cars, our five lovely ladies stuck around for at least 30 minutes to talk, drink lemonade, and snack on fruit, veggies, and brownies. They asked questions about what Tom and I do professionally, watched Will perform a variety of sports-related tricks, and admired Hallie's dance recital costumes.
Eventually the nine of us said our goodbyes. We walked them out to the driveway, and the kids waved as they began loading tools and gloves into their cars. Then, just as I was about to turn and head inside, one of them walked back to me. "It has been an honor to serve you," she declared. "Thank you for welcoming us into your home and giving us this opportunity to volunteer in the community."
I couldn't find the words or my voice to respond. I hope the tears in my eyes and smile on my face let her know that the honor was all mine.