Friday, November 19, 2010

the season of the Grinch

As I think most of you know, I often take Friday detention. I certainly like the paycheck: I submit all my dates at once so it's a decent chunk of money (which yes, I do use to make an extra payment on something. Aren't I just a Responsible Engine?) But the $30 a week is not enough to keep me coming back... the real reason is because it gives me 2 hours to hang with the kids on the fringes and try to help them move forward. To let them spend time in a negative situation with someone who does enjoy spending time with them, even when they make bad choices.

Some weeks they come in quiet and resigned, other times fired up and looking for a distraction. If I told you the full moon for this month is in 2 days, would you be able to guess what sort of week this was? We weren't 5 minutes into the DT when I knew it was going to be a rough one. We made it, but it wasn't pretty. I left feeling like I let them down, and that my heart is too big to do this anymore. I'm already emotionally spent by 2:30PM on Friday, and to stick around for another 2 hours, in some ways doing an even tougher job than the first? I must be insane...

And on the drive home, I saw 2 kids walking. One had spent time with me, the other waiting around for the first. The two rides they'd lined up to bring them the 8 miles home fell through. I had my daughter's friend in the car to come play at our house, but I just couldn't drive by: in the dark and freezing cold, I knew they didn't have many options. "You're going to have to indulge me hon..." She was silent from the back seat, but really, what could she say?

As we left their driveway, I gave her my standard speech. "No matter how mad you get at your parents (and you WILL get mad at them) I hope you always remember just how lucky you are." Her 2 word reply, while simple, seemed heartfelt. Sixteen miles later we were back to where we started. " Thank you for letting me sleep tonight." I couldn't say more, because it's not safe to drive while you're crying.

I believe in paying it forward, and live by trying to leave everything I encounter better than I found it. My detentions are not the strictest ones around, make no doubt about that... but I sure hope they leave knowing I enjoyed spending time with them. Because even when they make me mad and break my heart, I keep coming back...

No comments: