Let me tell you about my birthday. But first, as a bit of background, let me tell you about the day before. Let me warn you- this is way too detailed and may be boring. Read at your own risk.
Thursday, May 12, was the departure date of Madame Defarge a.k.a the Evil Incarnate Resident. Great was my rejoicing- inwardly. Of course, outwardly, it would have been a mistake to sing the Hallelujah chorus or shout for joy. But then, I heard that a past resident, Miss Drama Queen a.k.a. Brat of the Ages, was arriving that same day. Ah, woe is me. I was overseeing some standardized tests when this latest terror on two legs arrived. The strange thing was, shortly after she arrived, she was no longer ON two legs. I still don't have the whole story straight in my mind, but apparently, the mother came to drop the girl off and left two small children in her vehicle in the driveway...which slopes down to the road. Rumor has it that while the mother was up on the third floor, she sent her daughter down to look after the children; the girl went out and the vehicle was rolling in some fashion. I don't know how it happened but she fell...and sprained or strained her ankle. Yes, truly and aptly is she named The Drama Queen. So all of a sudden I hear these piercing, shrill screams. I can't leave the two students that I am with, and in fact, I thought that at first the screams were coming from the other girls doing P.E. outside. But the mother came BARRELING down the stairs at an unbelievable speed and went out to deal with the situation. A workman, yes, one of the same strange workmen that appeared out of the blue to test the fire alarms, was puttering around at the time and divulged the information that he had just seen a girl lying on the ground outside. Knowing this girl, I was not surprised. This is her fourth stay at the Shelter and the last time she was here, she had a cast on her arm. Also, during another stay, she insisted upon being taken to the ER as she was convinced her appendix was bursting. This is also the girl who, the last time she was here, brought a knife to the classroom, and was kicked out of class almost every day. And every time she comes, she consistently chooses ME as her "advocate."Anyway, I don't know if the car rolled or not because the two children were just fine...but who would leave them in the CAR? Okay, I won't go there. I am not a mother and cannot judge. So the girl was hopping around on one foot and fortunately we had crutches upstairs in the nurse's office.
The arrival of this girl, plus the fact that it had been kind of a stressful week, and another girl had been a major gritchy all week, ( yes, I am dubbing the word" gritchy" a noun as well as an adjective) plus Matt and Randa- the program director- were not going to be there all day,...all these facts combined to make me sense a nameless dread welling up in the pit of my stomach as I drove to work on my birthday morn. I would have given almost anything not to go to work. I hoped against hope that my newly inspected car would develop a major problem and break down, not too far from home. I prayed HARD that somehow God would make the day go well and also told Brad to pray for that as I left...Well, one thing clued me in that it might not be as bad a day as I had thought... due to circumstances that would take too long to explain, I had to leave about half an hour earlier than I normally do and because I left early, the sun glare was not a big problem. So, no hanging out my car window like a dog on my birthday! Still, I was not convinced that this was signalling a major upswing for the day.
But somehow, the day proceeded like a DREAM. I was agog with how well the girls were getting along with each other; there had been some major tensions between some of them all week. It was nothing short of a massive miracle. Now, this did not mean that the day went without a hitch, but we all managed to roll with the punches.
One of the aforementioned hitches was the fact that the classroom was locked when we went over there...I stood there with all the girls lined up behind me waiting, the door refusing to open, no key of my own, Linda's keys locked inside, and Matt absent, with the day off. Leaving the girls with Linda and Donna, I ran back to the house, found Joann, the secretary, and asked for her key. She said she had left her keys across the street at the hardware store yesterday to make some copies of them. She ran across the street and was back in five minutes. Once inside the classroom, we realized that the small office -where the phone, fax, and copier are lodged- was locked as well. No one had a key for that. ( I think Matt has one...but that didn't do us much good.) So, Linda's plans for the day were thrown into disarray because she needed the copier for Language Arts...and there were several other things in that office that we needed. Hmm. But again, everyone stayed relaxed and calm, and we all rolled with the punches. Some of the girls offered to pick the lock, which was gratefully acknowledged but declined, and Joann and I walked around outside trying the screens of the windows, which didn't budge ( I was secretly glad because the last thing I wanted to do on my birthday was climb awkwardly into a window while the entire town of Antrim watched). Anyway, eventually we got a locksmith person in who took almost the entire morning to get it open...and then in the afternoon, we had another guy come in to install a new door handle thingy as the old one was rendered kaput during the operation.
At the end of "Morning Meeting", Linda announced that the next thing on the agenda was my birthday! The girls all sang Happy Birthday and gave me a card and a gift. The also had made a cake for me - and a large frosted cookie/pie- that we ate during snack time later in the day. And the sun was shining and we had chicken enchiladas for lunch...and there were no major tantrums...So I was ecstatic. I told the girls that their good behavior was the best birthday present they could have given me and I was grateful.
I came home giddy with disbelief, puttered, went for a walk, and was picked up by my homeward driving husband bearing roses and other gifts, got a phone call from Sarah, and then went out to a wonderful dinner. Upon arriving at home, I found birthday cards in our mail basket, and listened with great fondness, to Liane and Ethan singing Happy Birthday on my answering machine. THANKYOU! That was so precious. So it was a marvelous, unexpectedly happy day. And this posting is proof that I DO know how to use paragraphs - somewhat.