Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Last Day

Well, I was contemplating posting a picture of Brad where he photo-shopped all his hair off...but I decided not to...or rather, um, Brad said, "Nah." And since he holds all the knowledge of how to post pictures on here, well, that was it. Sorry I have left you all in suspense...but no, he did not shave his head. I think we are dealing with enough change at the moment.

Speaking of change- I am now officially UNemployed! Hurray! In all the frustrating moments and difficult, dark days this last year when I just wanted to flee that job and make a screaming exit, I could not have imagined the great sense of bittersweetness that flooded me yesterday- my last day. The girls at the Shelter now are a very high energy, high maintenance group. They were pretty low yesterday morning- for their own particular reasons. And then I got up in front of the room to read my goodbye letter/speech...I envisioned it going well...but as soon as I started reading it, I plunged into tears. ARGH. Anyway, I was glad to have a chance to really share my heart with them.

Later in the day, I took my last trip to the Antrim Recycling Center...and I had some great finds at the Swap Shop - some books, a fall wreath, and a little OWL ornament which I left in the kitchen for Marci. I also got a really nice blue and white lampshade for one of the girls' rooms and as we came back to the Shelter, I said to the two girls with me, " Okay, make sure we take EVERYTHING we brought. Don't leave anything in the van." We started to walk away and one of the girls said, " Uh...Claire...?" and pointed back to the van. I had left the lampshade on top of the van.

As I came back into the classroom carrying my new treasures, the room exploded with people yelling at me; it was my very own farewell party. While I was away at the dump, the girls had decorated the room with posters and a colored paper chain...and they had made special food over the last couple days. They had made a big card and all written in it...and were eager to show me all the things they had done for me. The staff also gave me a card, and a gift- a beautiful framed photograph of Mount Monadnock complete with fall foliage. What a wonderful gift to take to Georgia with me. On one of the marker boards someone had made an acrostic with my name. For the letter "C", they chose the word " Cunning." Cunning? I never thought of that word in connection with myself. It tickled my funny bone.

We ended the party by playing outside. We had a clothes relay race which was hugely exciting and fun. It was a great way to end my experience there- totally silly and wild....running across the yard bedecked with all kinds of clothes...including a pair of pants and shorts that I had to just leave around my ankles and waddle as fast as I could...and an umbrella, slippers, a hat, purse, baseball glove, scarf...Don't you just wish you'd been there?

I'll really miss the staff there -- they are very special, wonderful people. I plan on going back to visit sometime in the next six months; I really want to see the finished addition to the Shelter which will house the new bedrooms and schoolroom.

It felt pretty strange to drive away for the last time. I'm glad I didn't leave when I originally wanted to- at a low point when things were tough; I'm so, SO thankful that things took an up-swing over the summer. I see that as nothing less than a direct blessing from God.


karena said...


Glad you had a nice last day. I bet they'll miss you
and be talking about you for a long time to come...

Linda said...

The day after the last day.

We looked for you all day Claire.

You weren't in the chair as I came in this morning with your radiant smile.

You weren't there for me to check just what you had eaten for lunch and what you thought was worthy of seconds.

Most of all I was missing your steady presence as we moved through the day with the girls.

Be well my friend. Oh by the way, it was one of THOSE days. ARGHH!

gretchen said...

Congratulations on the conclusion of your career at the shelter, Claire! And thanks for this sort of wrap-up post that gave all of us faithful readers a nice sense of closure and whatnot... Really! : )

DJ said...

Good job with sticking thru it, Claire! We're all proud of you too...