Thursday, August 2, 2012
My children wanted to spend some time with their friends. The start of school has brought them back together. I told J to text her friend and ask. Then I took it a step further. While it would have been better for me if the girls could have gone to their friends' house so that I would have more work time, I knew that their friends would prefer to come here. So I told J, Just tell their mom that I will pick them both up from their separate schools. That way her whole afternoon is free.
So I gave my daughters and their friends the gift of time together. I gave their mother a free afternoon. And when she came at 4 pm to pick them up, I insisted that she sit for a while, knowing that she would have things she wanted to talk about. Knowing that I am one of her very few friends and that it is important to give the gift of my time and attention. Even while I was finishing the dinner, setting the table around her, and starting to serve the food because I had to rush to be at a cafe by 5 pm for a different friend, even then I was making the time and space to listen and care about her.
Finding a Job
My friend T lost her job as a preschool teacher in June after an unfair, and probably illegal, refusal of her employer to allow her to take time off for her son's elementary promotion ceremony. The last few weeks have been rough on her as she sinks further into debt, and their family struggles.
Early in the week, she texted me to see if I could please help her to fill in job applications. As a native Bangladeshi, her English isn't great. Perhaps I've mentioned that this is the first week of school, and I'm a bit busy?? Anyway, I said yes, of course. We planned for Thursday and I kept the time free for her. I had hoped she would just come over, but on Thursday she texted me that she would rather meet at Panera. We used to go there several evenings per week when I tutored her for college, so it was like old times. I sensed that she needed that, just needed the feeling of being out somewhere nice with a good friend.
I brought my computer. She bought the tea and pastries. What we worked on was a lengthy application to a local university medical training program. If she gets admitted in September, she can get qualified for a new position by December. The application was a lot like the grants I do all the time, an online form and several in-depth essay questions. We laughed and talked and caught up, and we got the entire thing done before my bedtime deadline.
Within two minutes of pushing the submit button, her cell rang. It was her old employer offering her a position in a new preschool at the end of August. So by the end of our session, she had the hope of a new career, she had a job in place, and she had a good time. It was very successful giving on my part, and I was glad that I had given up my television watching time to help my old friend feel better.
I cleaned the sliding glass doors in the kitchen and bedroom.