By Little Buddy Mum, Wen.
One of our incredible Little Buddy mums, Wen, has two boys aged nine and seven. She is the most loving, dedicated and thoughtful mother and has faced enormous challenges, including her youngest undergoing open heart surgery. Here, Wen generously shared the story of her journey to and with Big Buddy.
I have been raising my two boys on my own since my divorce in 2017. Because of their father’s absence, it isn’t easy; I’ve tried very hard to balance work and my role as a mum. I told myself I had to be tough. I didn’t cry when I divorced or moved out of my home with my two boys. Not even when I found out my youngest boy needed open heart surgery. I told myself we’d get through.
And then, there was one night when I came home from the hospital after visiting my youngest boy after his surgery. It had been a big day; thank God the surgery went well. I remember it was late at night; I was totally exhausted. I told myself, just two more things to do, and then I can rest. Two more things. I’ve got to prepare food and give my older boy Martyn (then four years old) a shower.
When I took Martyn to the bathroom, he asked me, ‘Mum, how do I wee in the toilet?.’ For a second, I didn’t know how to answer. I don’t know if it was because I was so tired or because I just didn’t have the answer.
Then he asked again: ‘Do I sit like you?’
‘No, you stand,’ I said.
‘But how?’ he asked.
How? My brain was blank. I stared at the toilet, wishing I could come up with the answer; I felt helpless and hopeless.
Afterwards, I reflected on what an important part a male role model plays in a boy’s growing journey. As my boys grew, I knew they’d have more questions that would be hard for me to answer as I could only give my female perspective. What would a male say?
I did some online research to find a solution and found Big Buddy. Their home page says, “Big Buddy matches boys without dads in their lives with volunteers, good guys with big hearts who help them grow into good men.” I read through their website and learned more about them. I decided to give them a go.
In 2020, I registered Martyn with Big Buddy. It took a long time to find the right match. Big Buddy’s selection process is known to be the most discerning of any agency in New Zealand. They spent a lot of time getting to know Martyn and looking at the volunteers to find a good match for him. We were matched up with Big Buddy Raj.
Raj has been wonderful. He is calm, knowledgeable, wise and very patient. He takes Martyn to the playground, the park, and the museum. He talks to him about the dinosaurs, the biggest octopus in the world, the funniest aeroplane he has ever seen and shares stories of his experiences. And he told him how proud he was when Martyn got an award from school.
Raj is also an excellent listener. He listens when Martyn practices the piano. He listens when Martyn complains that his little brother isn’t behaving, and they laugh about it together. He has so many good qualities that make him the perfect Big Buddy for Martyn, and Martyn looks up to him.
I feel the difference in Martyn. He looks forward to every single meet-up with Raj. He always comes back home happy. He has become more confident and comfortable talking and sharing his thoughts with me and others around him. I see his happiness and confidence grow. I couldn’t ask for more. I feel really grateful to have Raj as our Big Buddy.
My younger son turned seven this year. I have also registered him in the Big Buddy programme. We are waiting for him to be matched with his perfect Big Buddy too.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope Big Buddy can keep growing so that more little boys can receive the priceless support we do. Thank you, to everyone who works at Big Buddy, for all the happiness and support you have brought to every Little Buddy .