At one point in the not too distant past, I had several part-time jobs that I juggled each week, including teaching, childcare, and a bookkeeping job for an accounting office. One of those jobs was to spend a few hours each week with a joyful young woman named Sarah. Sarah had just graduated high school when we started spending time together; in fact she graduated on my birthday. On the outside she was an adult, and on the inside she was a sweet, funny, curious, adventurous, and loving kindergartener who loved Disney Princesses, Taco Bell, my dear friend Coralie’s youngest son, and going to Target. So of course loved her.
During our times together, she didn’t want to just hang out inside or watch screens (ah-mazing) so our time was filled with walks and errands. One time we went to Costco and I kept having to do circles trying to find a parking spot. After about 10 minutes, full-throated laughter came from the back seat: “Meg, why do you keep going around and around?” While I was getting frustrated at not finding a spot, Sarah was enjoying the ride and wondering what I was up to. I try to remember that joy whenever I’m going around and around for a place to stop the car.
Both Sarah and I dressed comfortably for our time together: basic jeans and a sweatshirt was perfect for walks to Target, grocery shopping, lunch at the park, or visiting friends. Because of all those part-time jobs, sometimes I would be headed toward an office setting after dropping Sarah off, so I had to make a costume change before taking her home. I’d switch from comfort to classy as my Insomnia Cafe sweatshirt from Cannon Beach was replaced by a blouse from Macy’s. Sarah would laugh as I came out of my bedroom in a totally new outfit, questioning why I had changed. I’d explain that this was my grown-up costume that I had to wear sometimes. With one more giggle, we would head to the car and back to her home.
With the search for #NextNextChapter, I am putting on costumes again. This time ones for job fairs and screening interviews as I (and all of my colleagues) try to figure out where we are going next. This particular Kansas is going away in less than two months, and I’m not sure where the tornado will lead. So I close my eyes, click my heels, and declare “There’s no place like…TBD.”