Thursday was my last day of work. With all the hormones raging in me, it's no surprise I was a basket-case that day- WAAH! I was sad for a couple reasons, first being I LOVE my job. Ever since I graduated in 2003 from grad school, I have been working as a school OT in GRPS. Love it. Love it. Love it! Professionally, I anxiously wonder if this is "it" for me... will I be able to come back in a year and an half as a GRPS school OT? Will I quit my beloved career after 7 years in college and 9 professional years behind me? Will I loose all my skills? Will I even want to come back with my new busy life? There are a lot of unknowns as I move from one chapter to the next!
Second I was very sad because I LOVE my co-workers and schools. For those of you familiar with the Grand Rapids Public Schools, you might know about it being the largest school district in GR and it serves a lot of families who live in poverty. What you may not know, however, is how LOYAL and AMAZING these teachers and workers are. And definitely the kids are the best- I love them!!!!!
I have been all around GR in my 9 years here, my first 5 years I worked diagnostic and so I have literally been in every public and private school in GR. I have seen the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly, but make no mistake when I tell you GRPS is a heck of a lot better than some of the nay-sayers out there will tell you... there is far more good than bad, far more beautiful than ugly.
Let me first brag about my fellow itinerant K-12 OT and PT department. We are small: for a district as huge as us, we service a slice of the population: there are 13 of us total, so we get all over the place! As we move from school to school working with special education students on fine motor, gross motor, sensorimotor and visual perceptual skills, we often are blips on a school's radar. But my colleagues are so wonderful at what they do. They care about these students so much. They make positive differences in lives. They are great at what they do and they all have huge hearts. And as colleagues, I always love it when we got a chance to get together as a department. There are other wonderful OT and PT's in GRPS too that I don't want to miss, but our small little K-12 itinerant OT/PT group is like a tight knit, loving, sweet little family. I will definitely keep in touch with them, because over the years they have grown to just that-- an extension of family. So, WAAH for stepping away from those guys, even for a while!
Like I said above, our jobs often flit in and out of schools but I have had the amazing privilege of being able to service Harrison Park Elementary for 7 or 8 years now in GRPS. When I started working there, this towering, castle-looking West Side school was an elementary & junior high. The staff was wonderful, but it was pretty dingy. It was renovated and then later merged with another school/staff, changed to a K/8 school, and today houses almost 1000 students in that GIGANTIC and BEAUTIFUL building. With such a big school, I have a bigger caseload, so I was able to be there a few days out of the week. Because of this, I got to be a bigger part of that school.
Let me brag about Harrison Park now: If you hold a negative attitude about GRPS, I implore you to step foot at any time in Harrison Park. If we lived in GR, I would, without hesitation, send my children there. The teachers work SO HARD and are so amazing at what they do. They have so many things they need to fit into the curriculum every day, tests they always are doing, and high and lofty expectations for student success... you would think they would all burn out! But let me tell you, because I walk those halls and see what's going on in each and every classroom, they are some of the best teachers I have ever seen. They love to teach students. They love the students! They care about each child's success. And the staff is phenomenal. I will definitely miss being a part of the "Harrison Park Family', and thank you all for making me feel so welcome and loved. Which brings me to:
On my last day at HP, I went to lunch as I normally do and was surprised to see a beautiful and yummy cake for me, staff warmly wishing me well, and well-wishing cards from everyone. I burst into tears right away! But the biggest WOW factor, to which I am actually tearing up right now just thinking about, is that the staff pooled together a jaw-dropping amount of money for our increasing family. I have cried over this so many times in the past few days. I am SO BLESSED. What an AMAZING staff of people. Andy and I are still trying to figure out what we need right now, so it was the perfect gift. I am filled with gratitude. I love you guys so much! I will miss you, Harrison Park...
So now I am officially done with work. I will use up my accumulated sick time for the rest of the year, take all of next year off unpaid, and I will be guaranteed my position in the fall of 2013 if I want it. Right now I would tell you without a doubt yes, I will be back. But I know that my world will be rocked in a few short months and I would be naive to think all will be as it was. As scared as it is closing one chapter and starting another, I do need to sigh a big WHEW. Working was exhausting. I normally have really good stamina, but this is uncharted territory for me! Carrying 4 babies at once takes its toll in ways that even surprise me on a daily basis! I look forward to taking it easy, taking care of the babies growing in me & the one beautiful girl I already have, and allowing myself some time to adequately prepare for when the quads come. It feels good to allow myself this time. It's a needed sabbatical, despite it also being surrounded by mixed emotions. So that's where I'm at. I will keep up with the pictures and posts, and try not to make them so lengthy in the future. Whew!