Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hello Strangers!

It has been WAY too long since I've had a decent post. This job is KICKING MY BUTT! I don't know if it's just because I haven't had an outside job in a few years or that three and four year olds have more energy than anyone ought to have, but I'm just bushed at the end of the day. And I'm only working 4 hours a day! I've been waiting to put together a coherent (read NOT just blurting out whatever's in my head) post on my experiences of the last week, but I just haven't had the time or energy. Last week, I was ready to throw in the towel by Friday. I was in a small center, 4 kids (plus my 3), all in the same large room. It was a REALLY large room -- a former church sanctuary -- but it was just too chaotic with all ages in the same space. Plus, my girls did not want to listen to me and my son wanted to cling to me. In retrospect, I can't really put a finger on exactly why I was so frustrated, but it was some combination of those factors. So I told C over the weekend that I was just coming unglued. She told me I was doing just fine, that we'd all get used to it, and that she'd see if she could re-arrange some people so I could be over at the main center. There, the kids are all in separate rooms by age groups and I just have a few at a time until the end of the day. I start in the toddler room, which is nice -- Little D gets all acclimated and having fun -- then I move to the Blue Room, the 4s and 5s. When enough of them go home we combine the Blue and Green Rooms and I stay until the count goes down to 8 (not counting my kids). Then we all go home. I'm usually there from 3 to around 5:30. That will change as their attendance changes, I'll probably be going in around 1:00. C is on a mission trip to Brazil for two weeks, so I told her I'd stay until she got back and we'd see if I liked it by then or not. I didn't want to leave her in a lurch, since she accepted more kids based on the ration that my being there created. If I quit it would really leave her in the lurch.

I really prayed all weekend, as did my husband and best friend and you know, it really made a difference. I don't feel as frazzled and confused as I did last week. The kids really are sweet. There are a few rough ones in the bunch, but even they can give you a smile that makes it all worth it! They are so starved for love and affection -- and not because their parents don't give it too them, but because their parents are working so hard and long to just make it. The love and affection that goes on when they pick the kids up gives lie to everything I might have thought before I saw it. You know, I've been dirt-poor growing up, but if I'm honest I think I felt like country dirt-poor was somehow different than inner-city dirt poor. We may say that we aren't prejudiced against those who are different, but I think in my case I still held myself aloof or distant. These kids don't let you do that -- and it's WONDERFUL! As we were driving in, the girls said "These houses look creepy!" and they do. Some look like they should be condemned. But what we're learning together, the girls and I, is that people are people. I am ashamed to say that I knew that intellectually but not in my heart. And God, through these kids, is putting it in my heart.