Freedom 39

Today was my last day of work (at the organization we’ll call, E**) where I have supported kids with physical and developmental disabilities and their families for the past 13 years.  It was also Rain’s Grad 5 graduation, which turned out to be way more emotional than I had anticipated (so proud of that lil dude and damn his dad have been proud of him too). Needless to say it was an emotional roller coaster day but I am so happy and so ready for this new adventure that waits for us in Peterborough.  Keith – we are making progress !! Here is the good-bye email I sent my friends/colleagues.. So surreal:

Thirteen years at the same organization. Wow. And here I thought I had commitment issues. I did not anticipate staying here for 13 years nor did I expect to make some of my greatest and most truly phenomenal friends imaginable yet, here we are.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not only have I witnessed a lot of changes within E**, but this organization has also seen a lot of changes with me.  It was there during the purchase my first house, the birth of both of my kids, the survival a separation, and provided me comfort during the sudden death of Rain and Moxie’s dad. And now as I start this new exciting adventure in Peterborough with an evolving heart and family, it’s time to reflect on how far we have come.

Throughout the years, I have been employed in various roles, shuffled between most of our sites and worked with a variety of equally amazing teams. But through all the changes, E** has always felt like my second home; and I think I have spent just as much time cleaning up dishes in that kitchen as I have my own. (Although I have learned to bring my own cutlery because scavenging to find forks for soups and spoons for salad just didn’t cut it after a while – The other day I was had to choose between eating my yogurt with a butter knife or an ice cream scoop).  Ps. I’ve recently discovered the secret stash of bowls. (SCORE!!) and I’m open to bribes for the hidden location.

When I first started my journey here, I was determined to make a difference (in some epic fashion) – I wanted to change the world and solve everyone’s problems (talk about a heavy load). I also really wanted to prove how much I knew and how smart I was.  However, it turned out that the people I wanted to prove my brains to and solve problems for ended up being the very ones who taught me how to be a better person.  And then somewhere along the road that desire to fix, became a desire to simply help.  Genuinely.  From the depths of my heart. And within all the constraints that exist within a large organization. Nothing epic. Just help.

I’ll leave you with three small reminders that I have learned along the way (again, nothing epic; just reminders):

1.      One person can make a difference (even if it’s not the difference you had intended on making)

2.      Don’t judge upon appearance.  This is nothing new but made even more clear as I met these resilient kids and their families.  Some of the most frail by appearances can be the most stubborn determined fighters that you will ever meet.  And some that appear to be the strongest might just spend an hour sobbing in your office.  Please take that hour. Give your shoulder. And refer to point #1.

3.      Don’t take your job so seriously. Remember to laugh. Remember that we’re supporting kids. Have some fun. If at all possible, come to the Drop In or the Teen Dance, (you will quickly be reminded of the drama which is high school) And oh yes, Drama – come to the drama production or a music show and watch our clients radiate on a stage as an entire audience cheers them on.

I am incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you.  All of you. Thanks for all you have taught me. Thanks for all you do.

xo

Erica

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