Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Simple Things

So, today's my birthday. I'm 28 years old now. In typical fashion, it's been an interesting day - some parts amusing, some parts not.

I woke up to a text message from one of my foster parents, informing me that one of the foster kids got into a fight last night, which resulted in a broken nose. Then, as I'm about to leave for work, exiting my house while simultaneously taking a bite out of a pop-tart, I drop the pop-tart. As I'm trying to catch it, the storm door hits me in the head. I arrive to work to find a no-longer-employed-there colleague there using the intern computer(which, since I'm an intern, is my computer). This of course had me very confused. So, in any case, I decided to work on some of the forms/files which didn't require a computer. Then I realized I had left those files at home (I have folders for each of my foster kids, plus a 5th folder dedicated to forms that need to be filed in the agency files, and other "to do" list items that I keep with me in case I get to work on them from home during the week when I'm not in the office). So, I go back home to get my folder and also go ahead and bring my laptop as well, so I'll have a computer. Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my paperwork, before going on my last home visit with this one extra client I picked up from another colleague to help him out for the month of November. They weren't home. So, I went to my youngest foster kid's house to have a visit with him. I do believe it's just as therapeutic to me to visit him, as it is him. He's 7 years old, and has cerebral palsy. One of his behavioral targets is speaking loud enough to be heard, as he has a tendency to whisper. However, from what I've seen, he only does that when I first get there, and when I tell him it's time for me to leave, or if he's asking me if I have to leave yet (which he does any time I start talking to his foster mom). Anytime I'm stressed or frustrated, all I have to do is spend an hour playing with this foster kid, and I feel better. Classic case of the old cliche, where people in helping fields learn more from the ones they're helping, than vice versa.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. Television, the usual stuff. Decided not to do much, or any for that matter, homework today as a birthday gift to myself.

Between the birthday wishes from friends, and the time spent with the youngest foster kid, I was already in a bit of a contemplative/nostalgic mood, which is typical of me on these days. I think, however, the highlight was a voice message I just got a little bit ago.

Back in June, before I went part-time at my current job, I quit the part-time job I was also working at as a 2nd job, at a low management group home. While I was there, there was this 13(now 14) year old I really connected with. By the time I left, I was almost the only one who could get him to take his ADHD meds with little struggle, and he was actually going around telling other staff I was his dad. On my last day there, he spent the whole day with me. When he had to go to another part of campus to practice for some kind of skit that he was supposed to be in the following week, he became argumentative and defiant. It wasn't until I promised that I wouldn't leave until after he finished, that he calmed down and went to the practice. After the practice, we said our goodbyes. Before I left, I gave him my phone number (this group home didn't have as strict a policy on that as the mental hospital, that I knew of, and if they did, they're even worse about following it), and also told my co-workers that they're all welcome to call me anytime and say hi. As of now, I keep in contact with a few of my old co-workers, and a couple of the kids, via myspace/facebook.

Anyways, a little bit ago, I received a voice message on my cell, it was from him and a couple of the other boys from the group home, wishing me happy birthday. Now, they're not supposed to have cellphones, but, it's something I haven't pushed since I'm no longer there - a large part of me feels that, the agency makes it so easy to sneak things on campus, they kind of deserve it. I confiscated the phones if I happened to see them while I was working there, but didn't go to great efforts to look for them. All they had to do was on the next Wal-mart trip, buy a pay-as-you-go phone.

This one simple voice message seems to have thrown me into a stage of nostalgia and even pride. To know that these kids wished me happy birthday when I haven't even seen them since June, makes me feel like I actually did something right in spite of the office politics and weird structure (or lack thereof) of the place. I miss the kids, and even most of the co-workers. One old co-worker has said I should come visit(although technically I'd be trespassing since I no longer work there), but I don't think I would know how to act, it's been so long.

It's funny the things that make you thankful. That make you remember that in the end, everything is worthwhile.

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