A little less than two months ago, I said goodbye to my college campus for good. What follows in this post are some of the details of what has transpired in my life since then.
As some of you may know, I did not fully complete my degree when I walked at graduation, because I had switched my major my sophomore year and was behind, but I am being allowed to finish my degree from home. This summer, I am taking 4 classes. I am halfway done the first class, and I start two others this week. Luckily, my job gives me some time to work on my classes, and I have been a frequent visitor of my local Starbucks on evenings. The goal was to finish the classes by August 25th and receive my diploma shortly after, but if I am not able to complete them within that time period, I will not receive it until next year. I admit that I am not content with that. I am not content with waiting to be able to put on my resume that I have my degree. I want to be finished now, but there are constraints that I cannot control such as when classes start and time lapses in communication with my professors.
The other large part of my life has been my job this summer. I did not go back to Chick-fil-A, I knew that it was time to say goodbye to the old place and develop different skills during this summer. I also knew that I really wanted to work with kids and have more responsibility (12 credits plus 40 hours, I know. Crazy.) I knew that my old highschool runs a day camp during the summer, and so I decided to pursue that opportunity and landed a job working with 4 and 5 year olds.
Let me say that this job has been one of the most growing experiences in my life. When I finished my first day of camp, I was driving home and told God that I didn’t think I could do this for the whole summer. I had worked with kids before, but these new kids were just... bad. Not all of them of course, but most of these 22ish kids are not the “church kids” that I was used to. These are kids that don’t necessarily have strong homes, kids who don’t have fathers in their lives, kids who do not know who Jesus is. Kids who are used to their parents giving into them. Undisciplined little munchkins. But there is something so rewarding about a child who comes to you for comfort and who tells you that you are their best friend when everyone else leaves them. I have never felt a stronger maternal instinct than when I do when they are coming into the classroom in the morning. My head spins with questions like “did they get breakfast?”, “will ____ get along well without his mother today?”, “how can I help ____ who looks like she didn’t get enough sleep last night?”
Time and time again I am face to face with my emotional threshold. I am helping to build a sense of basic morality- what is acceptable and what is not- to these children. It is frustrating trying to correct the same actions over and over again and feel as if you are not getting anywhere. But there is no off button, the job must continue. And it is worth it. I have developed such a love for these kids that I have only known for a month. Let me share an extreme example that I am still trying to comprehend:
It was nap time and I was covering up all of the kids with their blankets and rubbing their heads and saying goodnight to them. As I turn off the light and am leaving the room, I hear one of them call out to me.
“Yes, little bean?” (They all share this name.)
“I don’t want you to leave me when I sleep. Can you lay next to me?”
“I’m sorry dear, I have to get some work done. I’ll be right over in the next room, but you’ll see me when you wake up!”
“Do you promise you’ll be here when I wake up?”
“Yes, little bean. I promise.”
As I walked out of the room, my eyes welled up with tears as I realized the hold that these kids have on me. I realized that no matter how many times I have to correct them, put them in time out, get them to apologize, and even write their parents about their behavior, they still are so precious to me. In that moment, nothing else seemed to matter, except that I didn’t want to leave that child. I wanted to keep him safe and in my sight.
I have heard people say that working with kids will either make you want children of your own or none at all. I would say that I personally have only grown to want them more. This job is teaching me so much about child development and how to deal with a child who is frustrated at themselves and you. I wouldn’t trade this task for anything else right now because it is growing me in ways that I know I need help in - unconditional love, patience, and handling intense pressures. I will work here until mid-August, and then say goodbye to these little souls.
So what is after this? I have asked the Magic 8 ball in the toy aisle of Walmart that same question, and still have not received a satisfactory answer. If I somehow manage finish my classes by August 25th, I still want to move to Greenville, or some other place far from Delaware. If not, I will probably stay put in DE for a little longer than I would like. The biggest issues on my mind are a job after this and where I will live. My dad has told me that since I cannot control my circumstances right now, that should relieve pressure. My head and heart seem to be a bit disconnected on this issue.
I want kids, I want a family, I want a nice kitchen with big cupboards and adequate space for all the eggs and cheese and milk. I want my own puppy (or kitten), I want a piano of my own (I would settle for a keyboard.) I want a church that I can serve in where I am not the pastor’s daughter (I have yet to find a church as amazing as LBC.)
I want my own towels and vacuum and silverware.
But God says, “Wait.”
And I say,