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August 18, 2009 Reflections

Saturday, August 18, 2018

I had worked for the City for over 25 years first as the Family Counselor then as the superintendent of a residential group home for at-risk adolescent males. I saw the program thru three moves. I saw us grow from ten beds to 18 beds. In addition, we expanded services to working with children in their homes. I was privileged to see lives changed. How exciting to visit with a youth and parent spontaneously express love when months before the hostility was at nuclear level. Visiting with former residents as they graduated from college or attended their weddings or saw them parenting their children. I saw our City employees step up in a big way as a co-chair of a United Way campaign using super heroes as our theme. I encouraged staff and students to volunteer in the community.

There were low moments as well. Our cook was nearing retirement and was preparing to go with his wife to Italy to witness his son being installed as the head of the army base. Tragically he died. This man was so much more than his job position. He often would transport kids to school and appointments. As he drove, they would talk about life. All the youths, were deeply saddened and all but one attended the funeral with staff; the one realizing how much our cook valued education and manning up and keeping commitments, participated in a school track meet that day in his mentor’s honor. Many times, as head of the program, I helped the program survive during some really lean fiscal years and could be subject to curtailing or eliminating services.

The summer of 2009, I took an early retirement package offered by the City allowing me to train as the care partner for my son’s home nocturnal hemodialysis. It was on this date the City honored with retirees with a reception. I was blessed to have my husband and son attend. My supervisor and friend spoke kindly of me. I took this opportunity to express my appreciation for the City to help families and youths. I emphasized that the dedicated staff members are the City’s greatest resource. For several years salaries and wages had been frozen so I hoped my efforts might lead to at least a cost of living increase for not only my staff but for other City employees as well. Afterwards, several council members talked with me as I was one of only a very few who spoke. One was actively encouraging me to run for council.

Transitions are the bigger changes in our lives—first day of school, first day of work, first kiss, marriage, becoming a parent, loss of a loved one. Transition periods bring extra stressors to our lives. We can use these to be better as they are opportunities or as an excuse to go with the flow. We do not have to be a bridezilla but some choose to.

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me. Let us choose this day to be in charge of ourselves. Let us make good decisions no matter our circumstances. Let us live large and in-charge.
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