Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moving On and Farewells

On the 23rd, I experienced my second 8th grade graduation.  This year, I had little involvement, whereas I helped to organize last year's graduation.

At last year's graduation, I realized how little appreciation was sent my way after all the help I gave.  Only the retiring Principal took the time to recognize my program's involvement in the 8th graders lives.  I couldn't hold back my, "Hells ya!" to my boss.

This year, as we saw that this other program that worked with the 8th grade was sitting on the stage along with the teachers, my boss and I rolled our eyes.  I joked that they were up there because they had certificates and prizes to give.  Considering that that program was talking about "what characteristics make a leader" with 8th graders, when I've been talking about that for 3 years with them already since the 6th grade, well...I have some feelings about that.
Moving On Ceremony

After the diplomas were given out, one of the students went to the podium to give out gifts to the teachers.  As they read out the names of the teachers, another student would give a potted plant to the teacher.  Suddenly, I hear, "Miss Cecilia" through the mic, and soon after they called my boss' name.  I was completely shocked that we were included in this list of people who they wanted to recognize.  I nearly started crying at the gift.

It's silly and petty, I know.  But I was starting to feel like all the work we've done there would go unrecognized.  It was truly a pleasant surprise.

With the 8th graders moved on, I felt ready to move on myself.  I knew that I had a couple of last things to finish up in the next two days, and I knew that I just had to buckle down and get it done before I closed the office door for the last time.

On the 24th, I jumped right into our process evaluation.  I was so close to being done that I just wanted to push it out before the half-day on Friday.  Suddenly, I realized that I had one last project to finish off!  I almost forgot that our door was wide open, as I started to say things that were not so appropriate for the elementary school kids.  I promised one class an ice cream party, and I didn't have a single clue about what kind of ice cream they wanted nor had I planned what time to have the party.  Luckily, another teacher of theirs was planning a party at the end of the day, so I planned to join in.

As I ran back down to the office and got back on the computer, my boss and another clinician for another organization (and great friend of mine) were planning to meet about transferring clients.  The other clinician told me how exhausted he was, and if I wanted to grab some coffee with him really quick.  I just had coffee, so I told him that maybe we could just grab lunch.

Looking back, it didn't even occur to me how random it was that he wanted me to get coffee at the same minute that he was going to discuss clients with my boss.  But then he said that he'd really value my opinion, and I told him that I just wanted to keep working on my report.  He insisted that he would love to hear my opinion, so I said that I'd join in a second.  Again, I thought about how strange that was, but nothing even occurred to me.

Suddenly, my boss comes in asking if we have knives.  Now, being that we had so many family and kid events that featured food, we literally had a gallon bag of plastic knives.  I pointed to them, and she asked for my help really quick in a conference room.  At this point, I was getting a bit frustrated and thoroughly confused.  I joked with them, "What exactly are you guys going to do?  Get all stabby??"

Then I walked into the room, and there was a cake and a little finger food spread.  On the cake it said, "From the *school name (spelled wrong! Ha!)* Thank You Cecilia for Everything!"

I was speechless.  Then the tears came.  Then a memory book full of pictures, some of my first printed work, and quotes from kids and teachers was handed to me, and the tears came even more.  I couldn't believe what they managed to pull off!  Later, my boss tells me that it was so difficult to get messages from the kids as I was always around.  I congratulated her on managing to pull it off without me even remotely suspecting a thing.
Love that kids pick up on so much more than we think.
The messages were extremely heartfelt and sweet.  Some of them cracked me up.
Seeing that we talked about anti-violence, this just made me laugh.
And then there are the ones that just made me cry more.
Apparently, my boss told me, the majority of kids told her, "Just tell her that we love her."  I mean, really, what more can you ask for from kids.

Several teachers and kids stopped by and wished me well, and soon I was able to finally compose myself and play hostess.  But really, I felt so overwhelmed with emotion...and still realizing that I needed to have that ice cream party.  Luckily, my boss helped to take care of that for me.

At the end of the day, I was full of cake and love, and I was still able to finish my report by staying a little bit later than usual.

On the 25th, the focus of the day was to pack up and clean up.  I broke away for a bit to take pictures with and of some of the kids.  But for the most part, we were organizing and packing boxes.

The day really flew by.  We managed to put some things in storage, bring back some of my things (including the green office chair) to my apartment, have lunch, and load up my bosses car with the rest of the boxes (files, books, games, toys, office supplies).

I had already cried a bit on Thursday, so I tried to keep it together all day.  I also think we were so focused on our tasks that it was difficult to think of anything else.

As the boxes were packed completely into my bosses car, we did one last check of the room.  The coat hooks were removed, posters thrown away (except for a very special PRIDE poster still on the wall...mainly because we couldn't reach it...), file cabinet empty, keys returned, and door decorations gone.  The room was empty except for the furniture.

Before I closed the door, I turned back one last time to look at the office that I've known for the past 5 years.  I thought of all the kids I didn't see in the last couple of days, probably already on their vacations.  I thought of all the experiences of being in that office.

My boss drove me to my apartment, her last course of action as my boss.  She talked about all the times she's driven me home, after events, family groups, lugging heavy items.  She told me how much I've grown from being a social work intern.  I told her that I plan to keep in touch, joking that it's not very easy to get rid of me.

We chatted a bit longer, as I was consulting about tarot cards.  We hugged, and I tried so hard to keep it together.  "I'm going to miss you," she said right before hopping back into her car.  I nodded, saying how much I will miss working with her.  As I turned away, and walked up to hill to my apartment, I couldn't hold the tears in any more.  I sobbed all the way to my apartment.

She will forever be my first supervisor right out of grad school, and I don't know if I'll ever feel as connected with my future bosses as I did with her.  Aside from actual work, I talked with her about tarot cards, astrology, our families, alternative medicine, and paranormal activities.  We laughed about so many ridiculous things, and we cried (in our separate offices last summer) during the memorial for Michael Jackson (R.I.P.).  Our ideas bounced off each other, sometimes leading us into trouble as we would sometimes make more work for ourselves than necessary.  She can be extremely frustrating, don't get me wrong.  But at the end of the day, she was more than a boss to me.

I have been blessed.  She helped me understand that passion is something to never compromise on, because it will just lead me to struggles and possible failure.  It might be the end of an era, and I'm honestly still processing this all, but I will forever be thankful for these past 5 years.

1 comment:

  1. wish we could have been there to hug you and throw confetti! you were the heart of that agency. miss you lots. big hugs :) xoxo


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