In a previous blog post, I wrote about the opportunity to return “home” after losing my Dad in June 2015. Here is part of it:
Once back home in Norman, I dove into work and also into helping to plan the 50th anniversary of my grammar school. One of my former teachers and I exchanged texts and emails on a daily basis trying to put together what we wanted to be a memorable, fun event. As with most everything she does, she sets the bar high. This was no different…and she met those very high expectations quite easily (well-done, Ardie Herring). The evening was a success filled with alumni ranging graduates of the 1970’s to 2000’s and teachers, both current and former (including one we hadn’t seen in 27 years). This short weekend “home” (to San Antonio) increased my pull even more to be there on a more permanent basis and I headed back to Norman this time with a determination to do whatever it took to move closer to family. In late October, I received a text from that same former teacher I helped with the reunion (see how it pays off to keep in touch) about an opening at my old grammar school. A week later, I interviewed with the committee and a few days after that, I accepted the job of Admissions Director. Two weeks later, my house was ready to be put on the market and my Mom, middle sister and I drove two cars full of my things down to San Antonio.
I have now been on the job and back home 11 months and am so grateful for the opportunity. My days fly by and I am immersed in many different aspects of the school that gave so much to me a long time ago. People frequently ask me what it’s been like to now work for a school that I once attended. Invariably, I’ll smile and respond with this, “The experience has been really neat. I won’t lie-I do find it weird at times to be back here, on the other side. But I love that the reputation of this school is still strong. My hope is that the kids who come here have the same experience I do.”
Sure, I was one of those girls who “played school” in my room but did I picture myself getting a Masters degree in Higher Education in Oklahoma only to return to my grammar school to use it? Heck no. God has a funny way of planting new opportunities right smack in front of us when we least expect it. I went from working with 18-25 year-olds to working around 3 year-olds to 15 year-olds. My day starts with greeting kids and getting them out of the car to putting them back in the car in the afternoon. My favorite part of the day, as crazy as this sounds (and if you saw it in person, you’d understand the chaos), is when my co-worker and I supervise sibling care…the holding tank if you will. This is the area those kids who have a sibling in middle school wait with us until the bigger kids are dismissed. The grades range from PK3-4th grade. The little ones are adorable. They tell you about their day and are such little innocent sponges. I love getting hugs from the first and second graders (I’m no longer the new person whom they don’t know-yay!!).
As I noted earlier, on tours, prospective parents enjoy hearing that I went to school at Holy Spirit. They ask what has changed, what brought me back here and if I would send my own kids here (if I had children). Without a doubt, the answer is yes. When I walk into classrooms and see the way our kids are behaving, the respect they have for adults when they walk into a room makes me very proud. Come to think of it, they make my job easy too.
So as I near my one year anniversary, I am simply grateful for having this opportunity. Be ready for those unexpected moments-you never know what’s around the bend and are usually glad you turned the corner to find out