Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


February 21, 2013

Carrie Stambaugh: Be a Big: 02/22/13

ASHLAND — I’ve been a sister all my life. I first became a big sister at age 2 — twice — then twice again before I was 8.

Being a big sister is a role I have always taken very seriously. As much as my little siblings annoyed me and as many times as I screamed at them for being in my room or stealing my clothes, I have always loved them unconditionally.

It was my job to watch them, stand up for them, teach them and yes, even tattle on them. The older we grew, the more I wanted to protect them. I tried to prepare them for whatever came next in life, whether it be driving or choosing a college. In our youth, I blazed the trail and they followed.

When I messed up, I got punished more than once. Not only did I have to deal with the direct consequences, but my parents and grandparents would also lecture me on the importance of setting a good example. Then I’d worry my sisters would make the same mistake I did simply because they were

imitating me. They did everything else I did.

Being a big sister can be really tough. They have always come to me for advice, which I give freely, sometimes even when it isn’t solicited. It only got harder as we aged. I’m no longer automatically the first one to experience everything, and that’s frustrating. I don’t always know what to say or do now, or what not to. Sometimes all that I can offer a hug and a tissue box.

Maybe that’s why becoming a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tri-State was such a natural decision for me. “That’s something I could do,” I thought the first time I learned about the volunteer mentoring program. My biological sisters had been grooming me for the role for decades.

After applying, passing a background check and being interviewed by staff, my Little, Regina, and I were carefully matched by a BBBS case worker who took the time to ensure we had enough in common to start a relationship. Our friendship has only grown stronger with every passing year.

 Regina was a shy 9-year-old when we were matched. She cried the first time we spent time together because she was so nervous about meeting me. I was nervous, too.

Now she’s a vibrant, outgoing 16-year-old, who’s brave enough to sing in the car or from a stage in front of strangers. Like all little sisters, she reminds me in a million different little ways I’m getting older, but shows me just as many ways I am valued by her.

It’s been a privilege to watch her grow up and to be a part of her life. Her grandmother has become a friend and mentor to me, too. I love just sitting in their home chatting with her.

Being a Big to a child is as simple as being a friend. It’s an incredibly fun and rewarding experience I recommend to anyone who wants to invest in the future of our community and nation.

 It is easier than people think to carve out a handful of hours a few days a month to spend together. When my adult life gets stressful and crazy, I can’t wait to spend time with Regina, trying on outfits at the mall, getting our nails done or bowling.

I love introducing her to new things and hearing about all of her little victories. Every time she confides in me and picks my brain to help her solve a problem, my heart swells with sisterly pride.

As she grows into a capable, smart adult, I am confident she’ll go out into a bigger world and do great things. I feel blessed to be a part of her life.

I just hope like with my siblings, when the Big and Little titles fade, we’ll always be sisters.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

Text Only
  • Mark Maynard: Let’s just forget about it: 04/17/14

    The older I get, the more forgetful I become. Does that sound familiar?

    April 16, 2014

  • Uncovering forgotten treasures

    You know the big difference between me and a hoarder? I mean, except that you can walk through my house and there are none of the disgusting aspects of hoarding in my life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Political stories worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0413timbizcolweb.jpg Tim Preston: Great salmon; finding Dr. Amy; and more Maria: 4/13/14

    It isn’t an especially convenient location unless you happen to be going that way, and if you don’t get there within the next couple of weeks you’ll have to wait until fall to try it out, but I had the best lunch I can remember last week at one of the last places you’d likely think of when pondering where to eat.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurant horror stories; garden planning tips

    In my couponing classes, I always had fun with everyone by telling them gross restaurant stories. In encouraging them to eat at home more and save their money, I was also teaching them how much cleaner it is.

    April 12, 2014

  • Feeling happy is ...

    Anyone hoping the Ashland-Huntington area will soon overtake Disney World as “the happiest place on Earth” will be waiting awhile.

    April 10, 2014

  • 0410markcol.jpg Mark Maynard: Brick House (South Ashland Florist) brings in $13K so far: 04/10/14

    Here’s a 14-name salute coming your way:

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cannon: Take this joint, please: 04/09/14

    Some of the things that occurred during our recent week in Jamaica were unexpected and even a bit weird. I suspect those will be the things we will still clearly remember long after the memories of the hours of lying on the beach have faded. I started to mention them in last week’s column, but opted to save them until a later date in the interest of length.

    April 8, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: March Madness, sadness for Cats

    It’s just another game. That’s the message John Calipari preached profusely throughout the 2014 NCAA tournament. It’s typical coachspeak, but Cal’s young Kentucky team clung to the step-by-step approach to produce atypical results.

    April 8, 2014

  • Sweet thoughts on the season

    So far, I’ve been a good girl. Or a pretty good girl anyway. See, I have this thing for Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Homemade peanut butter eggs? Eh. I can take ‘em or leave ‘em.

    April 7, 2014