On Wednesday, March 27, I woke up with something in my spirit - that it was going to be a good day and I posted just that on Facebook.
I had been substitute teaching in an inner-city school to put a band-aid on my financial hemorrhage.
The kids in this school were not like my nieces or my babies.
These kids have experienced and witnessed things that a child in elementary school should never-ever see.
Some of them carry themselves as if they are teenagers, or as we call them, "grown." Some are developmentally and academically delayed and with that comes behavioral issues.
I taught in the reading lab; working with students reading behind their grade level. On occasion, I was asked to fill in a classroom where a teacher was absent.
When I did, I would introduce myself and give them two options; the nice Ms. C or the not-so-nice Ms. C. They could have a good day or a bad day. They also had the option of following my instructions or leaving the room.
This was a long-term subbing assignment and the kids in the school had gotten to know me. They began to respect and like me, often stopping to hug or fist bump me in the halls as they transitioned between classes or on their way to specials.
One of the full-time teachers came to me at recess with surprise in her voice, "they really like you," she said. "They said that you don't play, but you're nice!" That was actually music to my ears, considering some of them worked my nerves so bad, I questioned whether I was going to return the next day.
That Wednesday morning, the students had standardized testing and I was with a fourth grade class. I told an administrator that I was expecting an important call at 11 a.m. and needed someone to cover me while I took the call.
Shortly after eleven, my cell rang and I ducked into the copier room to talk privately.
"Hi Single Mom, as you know we interviewed several people and narrowed it down to two. After much thought and deliberation..."
I sat down on a chair in the copier room lined with shelves of elementary school workbooks and multi-colored papers and waited for, "we appreciate your interest, but we have decided to go in another direction."
Instead I heard, "we would like to offer you the job, if you are interested."
I dropped my head,closed my eyes and silently praised God.
"Yes. Yes, I am still interested and I happily accept the offer," I replied. I tried to maintain a certain level of professionalism and decorum, but on the inside, I was shouting and doing the Holy Ghost dance!
We talked about my start date, salary, relocation expenses and some other things.
I thanked him several times and told him that I needed to get back to my classroom.
He remarked at my broad set of skills with teaching elementary school students. I humbly responded that I had to do what needed to be done to pay my bills.
I hung up the phone and walked down the hall to the table where the administrator who was keeping an eye on my students was sitting in the hallway and shared my good news.
She had only known me in passing in the halls and our conversations had been limited, but she was genuinely happy for me.
I have a rule about crying at work and tried hard to maintain my composure, especially since I was working with twenty-one fourth graders who can smell blood and will attack without hesitation at the hint of weakness!
"You don't know my story," I repeated several times, holding back tears.
She and the student teachers had no idea what I have been through.
How I moved to a new state for a man who promised to love, honor and cherish me, how I took a job paying almost $25,000 less than what I had previously been earning, and that it was also a lower level position, how I found a job that for the first time in a long time that was the perfect fit and gave me a sense of purpose, but someone came along and made the decision to take away what I enjoyed.
They didn't know that I had been living paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet after I left my husband and that when I lost my job I had gone through all of my savings in order to survive.
Now, here I was, standing before them - strangers - the first ones to learn of my blessing, and they were celebrating in my joy.
Since then, I have been busy packing and preparing for my new life.
One of the teachers at the elementary school, a young mother, said with hopeful anticipation, "I can't wait until I can pack up and leave and go wherever I want."
It hasn't hit me yet.
I'm not scared. I can't be afraid of the unknown.
I'm one of those people where it's not real until it's in front of me. I'm moving to a state where I once lived as a child, but hours away from where I grew up.
The closest family is hundreds of miles away and I'll be on my own for the first time in my adult life.
I'll be subletting an apartment for three months until I can find a permanent place of my own. I have to find a new church, hair stylist, dog groomer, doctor, dentist, and favorite places to eat!
Major metropolitan cities are an affordable train ride away and I'm looking forward to weekend adventures.
Most importantly, I look forward to getting back on my feet financially!
The past few months have been rough.
I have only shared with a select few what I have experienced and how I've gotten along.
I've been called strong, resilient, resourceful and other adjectives.
Not sure if those words truly fit me.
I just know that there were a lot of sleepless nights, weight loss, and a few tears shed on occasion.
I can't say that I am grateful for my struggles, but I CAN SAY that I have learned and grown from it all.
I am also grateful for the time that I spent at the elementary school.
I was there to teach young people, but many of them educated ME! Their little faces will be with me forever.
Everyone says that things happen for a reason and I am so glad to be able to move away and start over.
Right now, my sights are set on my first paycheck and praying that I can hold on til then.
Someway, somehow, I've made it this far.
There is a target.
When there wasn't one before.
I've come this far by faith.
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