Wednesday, February 19, 2014

There Is No Place Like My Home Away From Home


So, yesterday, I was down.  Feeling sad, frustrated, a little scared.  I had a lump in my throat that no matter how much I tried to cough and drink and swallow, just wouldn't go away.. because there wasn't actually anything in my throat... it was just tears I was trying to contain.

But, I made a promise to myself that the minute I walked in to the school, I would keep the tears contained.  I would "put on a happy face", and try not to let what was going on outside effect my mood inside that school building.  

The first stop I made once I got to work was Mrs. P's office.  Had to give her some information about what was going on because 1) there was a possibility I would have to leave at some point during the day and 2) even though I wasn't comfortable talking to people about my problem... I knew I could talk to her.  I could tell her what was happening, how I was feeling, and know that she was my first point of support and encouragement.

And I was right.  

She listened, told me everything was going to be OK, and gave me a hug. And it was during that hug that I realized everything really WAS going to be OK.  At least for the time being... because I was in the one place that wouldn't allow my bad mood to take over, wouldn't allow for my sadness or frustration to take hold, or allow for anything BUT support and love to be shown to me in my time of need.

After getting my classroom set up for the day, I went to visit with my team... to give them a little head's up about there being a possibility I might have to leave at some point during the day.  I also knew that I could confide in them about what was going on, because they are like family to me.  And family are there for each other through good times and bad.  They support each other.  And I know that my 4th grade family.. Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Sweet Little Baby Bear all have my back.  

Even though I wasn't going to tell anyone what was going on, I knew that Mrs. P and my 4th grade team had to know.  If nobody else on the planet could be told about something going on in my life, that would NEVER include those four people.  I honestly believe there isn't anything I couldn't tell those ladies.  Scary stuff, embarrassing stuff, bad stuff, downright terrible stuff... they get to hear it all, because I trust them with everything that I have.  A trust that I really don't show a lot of people.  I tend to keep people at arm's length.  I'm friendly.  I will tell you everything there is to know about me, for the most part.  But, I save the stuff that I share with no one for those four ladies.  

I'm sure they're very appreciative of that.  HA!

And then, there is one more person that without her, I just don't think I'd have made it through yesterday without some kind of break to my strong will.  The "happy face" front would have crumbled had it not been for her.  And, even though there was no reason to tell her anything that was going on.. got to hear the ins and outs of the ENTIRE situation.  

I love Mrs. P.  I love my fourth grade team.  They both are truly like family to me.  They support me, care for me, and just make my life at school a little bit more amazing than it already is.

And then...there's E.  

E is someone that in the past few months I've blossomed a friendship with.  I can't get through my day without taking some time to talk to her, share a few laughs with her, and for some reason open up to her about EVERYthing going on in my life.  I'm sure she didn't realize that she had the position of Joanna's therapist when our friendship started blooming a few months ago, but that's exactly what she's become. She honestly keeps me sane, focused, and allows me to see the goodness and light no matter how sad or dark life may seem.

We have a lot in common.  We both have amazing kids.  We both have similar backgrounds.  We both share similar family dynamics.  

Mrs. P is like a big sister that I never had.  Only a couple of years older than me, but takes on that "big sister" role to keep me in line, be there when I need to vent, offer words of support and encouragement, but won't hesitate to give me a quick kick in the rear when I need it.  She is allowed to tell me like it is, be firm with me... but try and mess with me and see what happens.  She'll be the first one in line to have my back.  Just like an older sibling would.

My 4th grade team is my Three Bears family.  Tight nit.  Close.  Do everything together family.

But, E?  She is truly like a sister to me.  Almost like a twin sister.  I honestly don't believe there is anything I wouldn't tell her.  She has learned to know me, know how I feel, know how I think..and can usually be two steps ahead of my thinking to help solve my problems before I'm even aware they are there. 

Yesterday afternoon, when the phone call FINALLY came about how my situation was going to play out and would give me more information about the situation, E was sitting right next to me.  I felt calm, collected, and at ease knowing she was right there.  And once the phone call was over, we didn't leave that room until she'd given me time to explain, vent, let out what I was feeling, and give her opinion on the situation.  She was researching similar situations while I was on the phone, ready to ease my mind the minute the call was over.  She was there to offer suggestions and advice for moving forward, and dealing with the situation in the short term.  

Not once did I feel judged or like her opinion of me might change due to the nature of the situation.  Not once did I feel like she would rather be ANYWHERE else but in that room at that minute.  And I thank The Lord that the call did come when it did, while she was there.  

Today, I will be learning more as the situation unfolds.  But, I don't have the feelings I had today that I had yesterday.  My stomach isn't all tied up in knots.  My throat doesn't have a giant lump that just won't go away.  My head isn't pounding from stress.

I feel better today.  I feel confident.  I know that no matter how it unfolds, what information I will receive, or what steps will be necessary to move forward... E will be right there for me.  She will be making sure that I'm OK.  She will be holding me up, keeping me strong, and lending her ear anytime I need it.

I know that I was able to go to bed last night and sleep soundly because right before I went to bed, E was the person I was talking to.  Just because I had left work didn't mean her job was over.  She was encouraging me and brightening my mood at 10PM... after an exhausting day for both of us.  

And, now, after all this... I think I finally know what it's like to have a twin sister.  Almost.  Kinda.  Close enough.

Again, I couldn't ask for a better work "family".  I really don't know what I'd do without them.  My big sister Mrs. P.  My 4th grade fairy tale family.  And my twin sister.  

Always there for me.  Always.

Everything is going to be OK today, because I have some major POWER on my side.  The power of love, support, and FAMILY.

When I say that I work in the best place in the world, I'm not saying that lightly.  I have NEVER felt so amazingly close to the people I've worked with in my entire life.

There really ISN'T ANYPLACE like home.... or my home away from home.


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