Summer of 2018. We were outgrowing our starter home, and we needed to upgrade. If we wanted this to happen sooner than later, mommy was going back to work. Oof. That was a tough one on this heart right here.
When Luci was born, I made the difficult decision between going back to work and staying home with my baby. Brett made enough we could manage, and he presented the option. It took all 6 weeks of leave for me to decide. I loved my job and the people I worked not only with, but who I worked for.
My job was helping those with disabilities in their homes and in a designated work area. They were some of the sweetest, kindest, amazing people I've ever known. Leaving them was a hard decision, but staying home to raise my baby myself ended up being what God ultimately put on my heart.
When it came time to work again, it was tough. I hadn't worked in two years. My life revolved around my kids. Jax was hardly one when we decided I would go back. He was breastfed and my anxiety about leaving them was insane.
So. Many. Job. Applications. An infinite, endless list of applications. It was ridiculous, honestly.Then, someone, probably my mother in law, suggested the school. The school! Why didn't I think of that? More than likely because I didn't think I'd qualify for anything with no schooling outside of graduating high school. So, I applied.
Apparently, I was early to the call. It would be weeks before they checked applications. There were only a few spots open for para-educators.
As soon as I applied, if I'm being fully honest here, I stopped applying elsewhere. I prayed so hard for this job. My heart was being pulled towards it something fierce, and I knew it was going to work out. I just knew. This didn't stop people from asking me about any callbacks that had come in and where else I had put in for. I fibbed a little bit about this part. Oops. Remember, I never claimed to be perfect, but I feared that if I said I wasn't looking anymore the conversations would be endless and my trust was in God. Not everyone understands that, so it was easier at the time to fib than try to explain myself.
Finally, it happened. The call came and the interview happened. My heart still said it was going to happen, but I was fairly certain I had bombed the interview. During the interview I was informed of the little girl that would most likely be who I worked with.
Nonverbal, physical at times, and extremely vocal. In short - she was autistic. A five year old that would most likely kick my hind end and send me running for the hills, right? Wrong.
My heart was set, right there, in that moment. I was already praying, telling God this was the for me. This little girl needed me. It was my calling to be there for her and help her. I never stopped praying and talking to God about her. When I got up in the morning, all through my day, and before I went to bed I prayed. Relentlessly.
I called more times than you can count checking in on the position and if it had been filled yet. I think my soon-to-be boss was sick of me at this point, but I needed him to know how serious I was. This little girl hadn't had a steady para yet, even after two years of preschool and I was ready to give her that stability. Still, I didn't apply anywhere else. I kept waiting and showing God I knew it was going to happen.
My call came in two days before school was going to start. It didn't even matter, because I was ready.
Turns out, they had hired two of us for our one little girl. Two para's? She was five, how tough could she possibly be? The answer - really stinkin' tough.
The thing is, though, I didn't change her life. She changed mine. Thoroughly, entirely, through and through, this little girl completely changed my whole heart. She consumed her own little spot as if she were my own child.
It was tough and I went home everyday completely exhausted, and I barely made over minimum wage. Let me tell you though, it was entirely worth it. Every single second.
I gained a good handful of lifelong friends, including the para that shared the position with me. I loved my coworkers, the other students, everyone we worked with. But, most especially, this sweet, misunderstood little girl that just needed stability and people who were willing to put in the work.
Life happened and I ended up home again shortly after the start of the next school year. But, I didn't leave empty handed. For the sake of privacy, and should I be granted permission, someday I may share more. But, until then, I left my job and ended up making a lifelong best friend out of my favorite little girl's mama and her family. Heck, I even convinced them to move a block up the road from me. Say what? How blessed am I? Un-stinkingly-believably blessed, friends.
Chances are likely somewhere along the way normal protocall wasn't followed, but my hands and heart are overflowing with love. We live in an extraordinarily small community, so it's probably a little easier for this to have happened, and I am forever grateful and, again, blessed beyond measure to have this sweet little family be apart of my life.
God works in the most wonderful ways, and when we listen to His calling we will go extraordinarily wonderful places. He never puts things on our hearts that won't entirely change who we are as a person.