Thursday, June 02, 2011

One Year Ago Today - Part 4: The Call

This post is for Tuesday (the day after Memorial day). Remember, I had a severely injured ankle, my best friend and husband's grandfather died the same day and our car broke down - all in the span of four days. We were left wondering when the next shoe was going to drop...

After our longer-than-long weekend, I decided to go back to work on Tuesday. It really didn't strike me that I shouldn't or maybe I needed a few extra days. I thought it was a good idea to get back into the swing of things - maybe catch a little bit of normalcy. The reality is that I wanted normal - I wanted to turn back the clock a week and have everything be as it had been the week before. Whatever the troubles we may have had that Tuesday it was nothing compared to what we were experiencing now.

Because the car was broken down, my husband and I had one car to share which means I had to do all the dropping off of the kids (can't drop them off before 7am) and then all the picking up and be home in time to give the car to my hubby by 4:30pm so he could go to work in time. That is a stretch, but one we had to figure out.

I made it to work around 8:30 I believe. I sat down and took a deep breath. My mind wasn't on work but I had to try. I failed to mention that during this time I was leading one of the biggest projects my department had been involved in - impactful to the entire company, highly visible - in a very long time. I had a small and very new team (3 weeks). We were running as fast as possible to get all this done. But clearly I just wasn't into it. But I had to try.

I turned on my computer and waited for it to load up. The phone rang. I don't think it was even 9am yet.

It was the kids' caseworker - the one who didn't show up the previous Friday when I broke my foot. Indeed, she tried to come and made it in fact - to our old house. Ironically the old house is in the same neighborhood less than 1 mile away but when we moved our phone number was not transferrable so we had to get a new one. Neither our address nor our phone number was correct. She was a new caseworker and didn't have our cell phone numbers either. So she drove what amounts to about 45 miles to get there - made it to less than a mile away, and had to turn around to get home. Our tenant at that house knows us well and could have given her the correct address but I'm sure she was working - it was mid-morning on a Friday. Oh well - it was meant to be. So I proceeded to ask her when she'd like to reschedule. Then the shoe dropped.

"Well - actually," she replied, "We are going to be moving the kids to their grandparents' home next Wednesday so instead I'd like to make arrangements for that". The kids' grandparents - the ones who chose not to care for them any longer which lead to them being placed in the custody of CPS - were going to be getting them back. I don't blame them, their situation wasn't fair to them either and the way things worked out worked better for them and the kids. But it was our first loss - a loss that looked at the time very much like it wasn't going to happen and that the kids might be an adoptive placement. (They did indeed end up being adopted, by the grandparents, earlier this year). We had bonded to these two. Our son had bonded to these two. Our first venture into foster care was ending.

That was all I needed - I lost it. After a few minutes of sobbing at my desk- like full-fledged snot and all sobbing - I cleaned myself up the best I could and went over to tell my boss I was going home. She knew about my foot and I had emailed her about my friend's death but she hadn't seen it yet. I had the best boss in the world. When I explained what had happened (so far!) she told me to take the rest of the week off. She couldn't believe I had tried to come in at all and now with the kids going home she in her abundant concern and wisdom knew best to send me home. That really was best for me though it put a strain on my project and eventually my career in that position.

We were sad to have them going home but we had no control over it and frankly no more tears to cry. I don't remember what I did the rest of that week but I know it had nothing to do with work. That was the last straw.

I was broken.

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