At 7:00 am the text came from my oldest daughter about my youngest, on a trip with my parents half way across the country, puking. "She's been going about 2 minutes straight. " Nothing skyrockets a mom's blood pressure like something wrong with a child who's too far out of reach to comfort.
It was Friday morning of a long week of in-service training. This is now the 5th conference style training I've co-chaired the planning and implementation of, and with each one I've learned more and gained new appreciation for what all happens behind the scenes. It's a LOT of work with months of preparation and planning beforehand. I blasted through the door at work, my mind switching back and forth between my baby being sick in another state, and the ever growing checklist of things that still needed to be done for the day's training.
Handouts were still being copied - leftover print jobs from the way I left them on the copier when I'd finally left the night before. Paper had to be reloaded, the jump drive retrieved from my office computer, end of the year awards finalized, etc, etc. A team of us buzzed around checking off last minute tasks, climbing up and down two flights of stairs between our offices and the training room.
Nothing ever plays out exactly the way you think it will or plan it to. Without fail, an award is forgotten, or the new projectors aren't hooked up, or the sound won't play on a presenter's video. I know the adrenaline rush was evident all over my face, no matter how many times I smiled at someone or stopped to answer a question.
I stood the majority of the day, even to eat lunch. But, at one point I sat down and just listened to the presenter, finally taking a minute to just breathe. I smiled to myself as I heard him speak words that completely tied in to all the other presentations from the week, including mine. I thought, "I love how that always coincidentally happens!" Then I thought, hey! Maybe it's not a coincidence. We plan these things, and we make this happen. I scheduled these trainings and even if it was completely subconscious on my part, I made it all relate. (Sort of the way I subconsciously make my family's outfits match. My mom pointed that out to me a few years ago. I had no idea I was doing it.)
Then, it also occurred to me that the presenter I was listening to was one I had the privilege of meeting a decade ago when I toured his center, Special Care Inc., and hearing later at a conference. Mansur Choudry, with his amazing story of "falling in to" the education field and passion for helping children with special needs had greatly inspired me in my career. Now I was not only listening to him again, but had been emailing back and forth for two months making arrangements for him to come speak to our group. 10 years ago, as a preschool teacher, I sat in a conference room hanging on his every word, imagining the places I wanted to go in the early childhood field. Now, there I was, organizing trainings and training teachers.
It amazes me to look back on my journey to where I am. And it's exciting to look ahead at the work still left to do. I am so incredibly blessed to be doing what I love every day - to be involved in something that ignites my passion. To have "fallen in to" a career that I love. A job that makes me want to get up and go to work every day, even days like last Friday that are long and exhausting. I think about how Mansur made such an impact on me and I wonder how many he's impacted through the people he inspires. That is my aspiration! Another decade from now I hope I can look back again in wonderment about where I am and where I've been, and I hope I can bless people by telling my stories... the same way I've been blessed by the stories of others.