Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Remember When

Years can begin to blend into each other when you have worked at the same place for a long time. I have begun to confuse the years when I “think” a student spent some time with us at Latham. I am so sure it was only 10 years ago I worked with her when, in fact, it was 22. Wow. Not off by much, am I? I think it is because it stays so fresh in my mind that it shocks me how fast time truly does fly. I can see and hear the commotion of the morning routine, of kids getting ready for school. My absolute favorite time was the evening. Helping kids prepare for bed--making sure they felt cared for and safe so that sleep could come without fear.

Working in a residential school program offered me the opportunity to witness the tremendous growth and success our students struggled mightily to achieve. I am forever grateful to the corps of child care workers who joined me in meaningful work that is often unrecognized by many. This is a worthy career choice for the right kind of person and you may wonder why I am once again rambling on about the “old days”.  Well….. Last week and again today, three former students crossed my path.  Let me say that Madonna was the young Madonna when one of them was at Latham and that cell phones didn’t exist when I first met the others. So, that gives you some context in how long ago this actually happened. I say this because of the conversations that sprang up either in person or on the phone with these women. Separately, without the benefit of each other, they all started saying to me, “remember when” or “you used to say” ….
What struck me was how ordinary the things they remembered were. I’m also quite sure I said some things over the years that I don’t want repeated and fortunately they didn’t choose to remind me of my less than stellar moments. But things I didn’t put much thought into meant a lot to them, enough so that they recalled them as if it was happening in real time. I was floored that these memories were so important to them and it made it clear to me how important our work truly is.

Our jobs are not glamorous. Trust me, we are probably the only people besides nurses and parents of children with PWS who know the Bristol Stool Chart inside and out :).  However, what does stand out to me is this: We have an important role in the growth and development of our students, both current and former. And the connections we make can last a lifetime.

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant


"Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator."
~Robert Orben

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