A Miracle. Part One.

22 06 2008

 

 I met Boss when I applied for a job at the residential program for teenaged girls. At the time she was the assistant director of the program.  She asked most of the questions even though the director was in the room too. I noticed right away that she was tall, loud, and in charge.

 The only experience I had actually working with kids was coaching middle school field hockey and volunteering at the local Outright chapter. She asked me a ton of questions, I asked her a ton of questions. I needed to make sure I agreed with the philosophy of the program before I took the job. At times I felt like she was trying to intimidate me during the interview. I gave her the shit right back. I guess she liked that. What I immediately liked about her was that she was testing me. It became clear to me that if I got this job I would learn a lot from her and she would push me to do things I normally wouldn’t do. 

 It also became clear to me that she was awesome at her job and her number one goal was doing right by the kids in her care. When she talked about the kids and their treatment, her eyes lit up. She had passion. I like passion.

 I remember at the end of the interview we were sitting on the couch in the living room. She said she had something she wanted to ask me but she wasn’t quiet sure how to say it.

“Listen, you just met me so you don’t know how I operate. Just ask me. I don’t play games and I don’t care much for beating around the bush. If you’ve got something to say, say it.”

 All she wanted to know was how I would feel about having a supervisor who was much younger than me. I told her I really didn’t care and at that I knew I had the job.

 I was right, I learned a ton from her. We haven’t worked with each other in a couple of years but I still call her when I have a tough case. I also have not met anyone else so passionate about working with troubled kids as this woman. Boss can take the worst of the worst kids and turn them into the finest citizens you could ever meet. In short, I am not sure there is anyone better than her in the field.

 What I really didn’t expect when I took the job was the friendship we would grow into. We are pretty different on a lot of levels. I’m queer, she is not. She is tall and loud, I am short and quiet. She is (or was) more into drinking and whooping it up than I am. I am much more conservative than she is.

 As it turned out, we also have a lot in common. We are both stubborn. We are both opinionated. We both will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

 As I got to know Boss, I learned she had a pretty tough life. She had gone through some shit. The more I learned about her the more I respected her and admired her. She was constantly pushing forward despite the odds. The fact that she was raising her now 15 year old daughter on her own was astounding to me. Single parents in general astound me. I just don’t know how they do it. I asked her about it one time.

 “Auntie (she actually calls me by my last name which I think is cool) you just figure it out.”

 That’s what she has done. She has been figuring it out. 

 Boss is extremely independent. She almost never asks for help. Remember that, it’s important to the story. She is however always the first person to lend a hand. I can call her and ask for something and she will agree to help before she even knows what I need.

 Boss continues to do a lot for me. One of the things I value the most about our friendship is that she still pushes me to grow and she calls me on my shit. It’s easy to hear someone call you on your shit when they are able to call themselves out on their own shit. She is able to do that.  When I am about to do something dumb (or continue to do something dumb) she calls me on it.  No matter what though, she always makes it very clear to me that she is going to respect my choices and support me. She let’s me fall flat on my face, helps me get back up, dusts me off, and then gives me a gentle (or sometimes not so gentle. It depends on the situation) nudge in the right direction.

 Over the years she has always defended my honor both professionally and personally. I think it was very difficult for her to watch me go through the shit I went through with my friends. I would talk to her about things they would say about me and she would (sometimes rather angrily) say “That’s not who you are! They have no idea who you are!” I worked so hard over the years to get those people to accept me for who I am. It took that experience for me to realize that Boss, from day one, accepted me for me. Needless to say I have a much greater appreciation for that now.

 Boss is one of my very best friends. She is always there for me no matter what. For both of us, what we mean to each other often goes unsaid. Boss is less comfortable using the language of the heart than I am. I respect that in her and truth be told, I don’t need to hear the words from her to know that I am loved and respected by her. She is also not always comfortable hearing the words back. I have not told her (a least in one sitting) how much she means to me or how much I admire her. I have not told her that her love and support has gotten me through some pretty tough times and for that I am so, so grateful. I have not told her that if I have half of the strength and courage as she does, I know I will be OK. I have not told her how good it feels to just know that she has got my back. Always. And even though I know I don’t need to say it, I’m going to. Boss, I will always have your back too. I love you.

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4 responses

22 06 2008
Laurie B

What a wonderful letter to a wonderful friend. Thanks for sharing it.

22 06 2008
MST

This is beautiful. Thanks for great start to my Sunday! xo

23 06 2008
mrschili

Sniff.

HOW, exactly, though, is this a miracle (or does the miracle part come in part two)? You are – and always have been – worthy of that kind of love. Just because we had to wait until the second part of our lives to find it doesn’t mean we didn’t always deserve it…

24 06 2008
Laurie B

Ok, just read part two. I don’t know you at all, just my reaction here.. Let me tell you, the BEW was hopeless until I offered her a little time..wow! she figured it out. be BRAVE and go to the place you are afraid of.

You, Auntie, are a one in a million love. You are very worthy of that kind of love. You are such a dear heart. I hope that one of your still single friends that agrees with you about kids just jumps on your bones and lets you know how in love with you they are.

They’d be fools if they didn’t.

You deserve the best and finest kind of love, and wouldn’t she be the luckiest woman? Trust your Chili family to give her the once
( or twice) over but, good gosh girl, you deserve somebody really special.

Just sayin’

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