Sunday, August 2, 2009

Adventure Day 12 - #23 Expanding my family

So Friday turned out a bit differently than it was supposed to, but in a good way. I was supposed to be going in for my fourth consecutive day in a row at the house I work at. However the night before I had been chatting with other staff about the training they were going to and I remarked how I would love to join them and get a bit of a break (since I still had two big shifts after Friday that I would be in for). Don’t get me wrong, I really do love my job (most of the time) but sometimes it’s nice to get a break from the normal stuff, and the training was specialized for the one person we support and I knew I’d enjoy getting the ‘scoop’ and learning more.

I think 5 minutes after I mentioned that I would go it was all arranged that I would be joining them (keep in mind it was 10pm and my next shift was at 9am and they covered it!). I was excited. Not just because I was going to the training (that might be kinda sad), but that I could hang out and get to know my co-workers better.

You see I started working at this home 3 months ago now and it’s only been the past couple of weeks that I really have felt ‘safe’ to (as I put it before) come out of my shell. And come out of my shell I did! In fact sometimes I think I should’ve stayed in. I’m afraid when I get to know people that make me feel accepted completely (which doesn’t happen all that often) I REALLY am myself around them. I can sometimes have quick wit and a sharp tongue that some people don’t appreciate. So far at work I’ve been called a bitch twice, a spicy meatball, a firecracker, a peppercorn and I’m sure there are a few others I cann’t remember. I love it! I love that I can let go and just be and laugh and argue without really constantly being worried about what every one thinks. Can it get any better than that?

Onto my Friday. I went with the 3 full time staff – 2 guys and a gal (without my boss’ approval – oops!) to the training session. Well, I guess it was training. The guy in charge seemed less than my ideal, had an annoying laugh and was a tad on the arrogant side. More than once he wouldn’t let my co-workers and I finish our thoughts, and at one point he blatantly came out and dissed my program at College and said that DSWs didn’t come out of school with any real skills or at least didn’t use them or know how to. Well, he walked over the wrong chick’s feet – I didn’t really hold back my opinions and facts of what I had learned in school and as he challenged me (or tried to shut me down) I just spoke louder. Sometimes I don’t let things go – this was one of those times. Needless to say we had a lot to talk about during lunch and we did (over some Thai food at a new to me restaurant might I add).

As we ate, talked, laughed and hissed I looked around the table and realized that though I haven’t known the people I was sitting with for very long they indeed were beginning to feel like my family. What makes them feel more like a family than my home church or other friends I have? Well, like a family, this group has a lot in common: we all share the same boss (Big Mama), we joke painfully with each other, we disagree sometimes and argue others (I haven’t done a lot of this but I’m sure I will and I’m sure that it’ll be ok), only we could understand the dysfunctional house we live in too much of the time, we are all in relatively the same income bracket, we try to help each other out when we can, we cover for each other and we annoy each other – sounds like a family to me.

Now after listing all of these things I’m afraid I’ve made myself out to be more ‘in the family’ than perhaps I really am, I do realize my place. I just want to point out that I FEEL like I’m a part of the family there and I love it. I couldn’t imagine working with any other team. When I started out here it was more for the experience, but in a very short time it has turned into a place to live rather than visit.

When I wrote #23 down on my list I really and truly had no idea how I was going to do this, I just knew that I wanted a bigger family. I don’t think you can strategize how to actually ‘expand your family’. However I do think that you can have an idea of what you want out of life, the kind of person you want to be, and the people you want to be surrounded by. If you are open to the possibilities of what the definition of something could be, you may actually already have (or be in the process of getting what you are looking for) and not even realize it.

A lot of people complain about their families (I am one of these) and even get to a point where they feel sorry for themselves because they don’t have supportive, involved, and functional parents and/or siblings in their lives. But the thing is: family is whoever you let in. Family is who you are surrounded by in the hard times. They are the ones who have your back, annoy the hell out of you, make you laugh, believe in you, appreciate who you are and need you too.

By my definition anyone can be your family, you just have to let them. I have my welcome mat out and can’t wait to see who’s coming for Christmas!


Ceedee said...

deCan I please add as a memeber of your newly expanded family - welcome aboard sister. You are so in ... just look at how we are all willing to re arrange everything just to have you coem to training. I mean seriously training. We are also fighting about how gets to work with you.

Eva said...

I'm glad I'm not just a completely overzealous freak with unrequited love :)