I started a new assignment today–another campus had an immediate need for a certified teacher, and I was the person in the district best able to fill it. I really only got about 4 hours notice of the switch; having received the news at lunchtime on the Friday before last week’s Spring Break. I barely got time to get a briefing from my new principal and figure out how to arrange the furniture in my room before the end of the day.
Spring break was completely consumed with flooring. I spent the time laying a laminate floor in my kitchen. Note: if you ever want to lay laminate, YOU MUST LET IT SIT IN THE BOXES IN YOUR HOUSE FOR 48-96 HOURS BEFORE STARTING YOUR PROJECT!!!!!! The”good people” at Lowe’s just happened to mention that as an aside as I was loading my car last Monday morning–great. That nixed Monday and Tuesday for working. What was supposed to be five sanely-paced days turned into two frenetic ones scrambling to get the floor laid before Thursday night! Then came everyone being off for Good Friday–and everyone wanted to play, including the cattle–who decided that this was the time to play “hide and seek” on the neighbors’ property. So there is still finishing work to do and God knows when it will be done. I feel like the Little Red Hen here–“if it is to be, it is up to me.” If I ever blog about wanting to replace flooring, remind me what a pain it is to do it! My knees are just beginning to recover, and I wore pads on them the whole time!
My little pity party I had going this morning was shattered, though, by learning through office chatter of the unexpected death of a colleague from my old campus during Spring Break. She was just a couple of years older than I–her youngest child was the same age as my middle one. She began working on my old campus this year as an aide, but I had gotten to know what a great lady she was because of what a great kid her son is. In a small rural town with multi-generational poverty, her son is a beacon of hope–smart, athletic, respectful, resourceful, fun loving but industrious–in short, a walking testament to good upbringing. I pray that he can keep his focus during this unimaginably horrific time. I so hope he can continue to honor his mother by fulfilling the promise he has shown so far. It is way too easy in this day and age to “fall into the crab bucket” of spiraling standards, especially when you’re still a teenager and you lose your anchor.
This is the second time this school year (and the third time in 15 months) that I have mourned the loss of the parent of an outstanding student–two due to illness (this one sudden, the other chronic) and the other in a tragic accident. In each case I have known the parent to be loving, caring, and giving 110% to raise an enriched child in an impoverished corner of the world. None of them were wealthy, only one of them was considered “a pillar of the community,” but all three were heroes in my book.
What’s even scarier is how my friend died. Right now, they believe it was meningitis. We’re still waiting for confirmation. I last saw her two weeks ago tomorrow. As always, she greeted me and goodbyed me with a big hug. Those hugs have meant so much to me. Some time ago, when some subversive elements were trying to brand me as a “racist” among members of her ethnic community, my friend made it a point to give me a huge hug in front of everyone every chance she got. She publicly stood by me when it would have been so easy to be silent. I owe her so much, and now she’s gone. The last time I saw her, she was right as rain, and now she’s gone. I’m still in shock.
Yes, I know how virulent and contagious meningitis is. I have communicated with the school nurse. The incubation period is 10-14 days. I have not felt ill at all since I had a flu relapse a month ago, so I hope that means I am not ill. I also know that it is possible for someone who is not ill to be a carrier. That means I will watch my family very closely the next two weeks. At least my daughter got the meningococcal vaccine. If it was bacterial meningitis, she’s protected. My sons and husband, I will watch very carefully.
My friend, you are sorely missed. Rest with the angels, and we’ll keep your memory alive down here.