My first full week at the new job is done! And I'm happy to report that I'm still just as pleased as I was on the first day. I've only worked 8 days so far, but I have zero complaints...about anything. I can't imagine how I've gotten so lucky! On the first day back for the kids (Thursday), a busing fiasco left dozens of students without transportation to and from school. While that played out, a sewage backup that required an emergency crew of plumbers left over half the school without useable toilets! It was chaos for awhile! In the midst of all that the principal apologized and handed me a list of parents that needed to be called and who weren't going to be happy--their children, who should have been on buses, had no way home and arrangements had to be made to get them picked up. Most were obviously blue collar hardworking types that needed to be at work and/or didn't have reliable transportation themselves. The rest of the office knew that I had been given a tough task, and I knew they were watching to see how I'd handle it. So I did my best. I accepted the task with a smile and pleasant attitude. I made one call after another, and tried to be as empathetic and professional as possible. I didn't complain. And do you know--not a single parent blasted me! Most were gracious and understanding.
That afternoon, before leaving for the day, the principal (a sharp and efficient middle aged woman) complimented me on how calmly I had handled an especially trying first day of school. That was my biggest highlight of the week! She's not a woman who's given to compliments, certainly not if she doesn't feel they're deserved.
This week I also met the teenager I'm a new guardian to! I was really nervous about it. She's living with foster parents in a really poor part of town, and I had no idea what to expect when I knocked on their door. They're all African Americans, and with the way things are going in our country right now, I couldn't blame them if they didn't want a strange white woman over. But they turned out to be a sweet elderly couple that were very kind and gracious. They remind me a little of my grandparents: the wife has flowers and plants everywhere in her tiny front yard and on her porch, and they were watching The Andy Griffith Show when I arrived. My grandparents watched that show all the time!
After I introduced myself, they called *Kay from her room. She was another pleasant surprise. I expected her to be unreceptive to yet another adult sent from "the system". I expected her to possibly be sulky or difficult. In fact, she was none of those things! She was shy and had a sweet smile. She seems young for her age. I had a new book bag filled with school supplies to give her from the GAL program director, and she seemed very happy with it. We talked about the upcoming school year and what classes she's taking. I admitted I had been nervous to meet her, and she laughed. We made a plan to see each other again in two weeks, and she seemed impressed when I took out my planner and wrote her in for the afternoon of the 31st. All in all, a great first visit and I feel good about this assignment! I'll be with Kay until next summer when she turns 18. She's been through a lot of trauma and deserves a shot at a decent adult life. This year is going to be crucial for her.
I met with Kay after work on Wednesday, and that night was book club. I was so happy to see my friends! I had to miss last month's meeting, and I've been too busy with the new job to see much of them lately. The book we read this month was In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. It was a quick and easy read, and not bad for a summer selection.
It's been an exciting week. Now I'm ready to relax! And guess what? It's a three day weekend, because a total solar eclipse is happening here on Monday (!!!!!!!) and the schools are closed. A three day weekend already--I think I'm going to enjoy being "back in school" and following a school schedule! Tomorrow, I'll write more about the grand celestial event that's about to take place over South Carolina on Monday. Until then, enjoy the weekend!
*Not her real name, for obvious reasons.