Monday, November 15, 2004

Day One, over.

One year ago today I worked my first shift at Bevo.
My worries the night before were:
Would I fit into the scrubs?
Were would I change?
Would I catch on?

After that first day, I had to pep talk myself into returning. I pep talked myself through the entire season.
It was physically demanding work in wickedly hot and humid conditions. Not to mention the difficulties relating to some of my co-workers…

My supervisor, Nigel, called me on Sunday night and invited me back to be part of the mommy shift.
I cheerfully informed him that I would be unable to. I had gotten a real job.

Campus Crusade called me last week as well. They too had a part-time paying position to offer me. (Mon – Fri, 3 – 8 pm $9. per hour) I was so thankful I could turn down that job as well.

Sunday night I was in bed by 11:30pm determined to fall asleep immediately, regardless of the number of laps my circling thoughts were doing in my head.
“Mom?” Drew whispers. “I can’t sleep.”
“Do you wanna snuggle in with me?”
“Can I?”
“Yes. But you havta fall asleep right away…”
He runs back to his room to get his fan, his glass of water, his favourite pillow. He settles in right beside me and wants to talk.
“Is it OK if I ask you a few questions?”
Knowing he will not fall asleep with questions burning in his mind, I said, “OK. Just a few.”
“What happens if I get sick? If you have a job, who will look after me?”
“I will. I’ll tell them I have to stay with you. But let’s try and stay real healthy for the next couple of weeks, OK?”
“Can you scratch my back?”
While I’m lazily scratching, he asks, “If we get a really big bill, and we don’t have the money to pay for it, will we go on welfare?”
“No. We won’t.”
“Will nan and bups pay it for us?”
"No, I’ve arranged to borrow money from the bank.”
“The bank? How can you pay that back? What happens if you die? Then me and my brothers have to pay them back?”
“I will pay it back. Every month a little bit will get paid off. I’m not dying.”
My arm is tired so I’ve stopped scratching, and I’ve rolled over onto my other side.
“Mom? Can’t you turn this way? I like to see you face.”
I heave myself back onto my right side and he interlocks his fingers with mine.
“The hairs are starting to grow back, aren’t they?” he observes as he touches my forearm. “Is your chin still all bumpy?”
“No, it’s getting better. Can you go to sleep now?”
“Mom? What are you going to do at your job tomorrow? Can I ever come and see you there? What happens if Mrs. Rubuliak is late in the morning? Are you going to go to work and leave me home by myself? What time are you going to pick me up after school? Everything’s going to be different, isn’t it?”
Clearly he was no where near falling asleep… his mind was on overdrive, just like mine. Even though his eyes are wide open, he is quiet for awhile.
“Wow. That must’ve been, like 10 minutes. Don’t think I’ve ever prayed that long before.”
Finally, at 1:00 am he drifts off sharing my pillow and snuggled up close, leaving me to obsess by myself.

At 1:30am Max wanders in. “Mom? You still awake?”
“Oh yeah.”
“Do you have any Tums?”
“Have you slept yet?”
"No. Can’t.”
We both go into my bathroom, chatting while we look for some antacids.
He heads back to his room, and as I slip back into my ridiculously creaky bed, Drew wakes. “What did Max want? Is he OK? Is he worried too?”
“He’s fine, go back to sleep.”
“Are you driving Clint to school?”
“Not now. I’ll do in a few hours. Maybe after we’ve all slept.”
“Don’t leave me home by myself. Make sure you wake me up and take me along.”
“OK. G’nite.”

I lay there for another hour. Worrying. Praying. Wishing I were different. Wanting a man to take this financial burden off my shoulders. Hoping I can somehow be a decent mom as well as a worthy employee.

I must have fallen asleep around 3:00, cuz Drew woke me up.
“Mom? Maybe you should roll over the other way. You are starting to snore.”

Great. I’m going to Europe to chaperone teenage girls.
I snore.
I predict I will stay awake for 16 consecutive nights.

Despite the short night, I made it to work on time. And managed to stay awake for my entire shift.

I was at the Middle School on time to pick up my three favourite 14 years olds.
“Mom? How’d it go?”
“Yeah, Mrs. O – how was it?”
“Intense. Overwhelming. My head is aching. So much information was stuffed into this noggin today…”
"Welcome to my world.” Max says. “Every day teachers try to fill up my brain. Sometimes it’s just too much.”

I get to the elementary school at my usual time. Drew races over to the truck. “Mom! How was it? Good? Did you like it?”
“Imagine this Drew. It’s your first day of school and you’re nervous about your new teacher, your classmates, the routines, your schedule and stuff. The principal takes you into his office, sits you down and tells you his expectations. You know your colours, shapes, numbers to 10 and most of the alphabet. He tells you that by the time you leave the elementary school, you have to know how to read chapter books, prepare essays in handwriting, do long division, make a science fair project, have the multiplication tables memorized and be a lunch room monitor. That’s what it felt like today.”
“Sooooo. It was good?”
“Uh. I think tomorrow will be better.”

I’m a forty three year old kindergarten student. At the end of day one, I know where the bathroom, the lunchroom and my desk are. I met the other new kid. I watched a video, talked to the principal, my teacher, and some of the intermediate students.
And I was given my assignment.

I am scared poopless.

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