Where were we? Oh yes. My employer chose not to pay my vacation time. When I called to find out what had happened, I was chastised that I did not verbally inform my employer that I wanted to be paid for my vacation time. Hmmm. Did I not complete a leave request form? Indeed I had. I also remember telling my employer that I wanted to use whatever vacation time I had left. Turns out that a discrepancy on the vacation form made it possible for the Director to overlook my request. She agreed to ask the School Owners to look into the matter. I trusted that this would be taken care of so that I could return to Georgia in time to begin the new school year.
Again, I checked my account on the next expected payday and found myself lacking funds. I once more called my Center Director and was greeted with what amounted to a different type of "pay back." I was told that ,"Well, Mr. XYZ felt that he didn't need to pay you since you left he and Mrs. XYZ in a bind by leaving. Additionally, The Infant Room had an increase in enrollments and we had to hire a new Lead Teacher to replace you." Perhaps a sudden increase had actually occurred in the one week time since I last spoke with her. However, I was sure that there was something I could have done to help out if only on a part time basis. I was advised that I was no longer expected to return on the date I had written on my vacation request form. "We'll call you if we need you."
There was a deep sense of disappointment that I had been unceremoniously dumped. If at any time the Center Director had indicated I could not take a leave of absence I would have respected that decision. If I had known that taking my children to see their dad would result in an inability to receive my earned vacation pay or that I would have no job upon returning to Georgia I surely would have postponed the visit. Most of all, I felt like I had let everyone down. I missed the infants and I missed talking with their parents. I also missed the coworkers I had grown to love. We had worked so hard together to make sure the Infant Program was one that made us proud. I felt like all my efforts had been disregarded.
Moving forward is never easy. It takes a lot of humility and forgiveness to let go of the "What might have beens." Here's the thing. It's never good to second guess yourself. You do the best you can under given circumstances and proceed as planned. Sure there will be plenty of individuals who disagree with your choices or don't understand your motives. Can you imagine what life would be like if you felt like you had to justify every action you take, every word you write, and every breath you chose to breathe? Believe me, it's no way to live! Although guilt has it's purpose in the the world, an excess amount prevents you from moving forward and living the life God intended for you.
I am currently in the process of "moving forward." I have filed for unemployment while I continue to look for work. My children will attend school in Colorado Springs for now. We are gathering birth certificates, applying for medical insurance, and getting the necessary forms completed to begin a chapter in our history I'll call "Return to Colorado." Perhaps I have unfinished business. There are worse places I could be "stranded." Whatever the reason I ended up here, it's now my job to make the best of our adventure and embrace the results. I can do this! I've reinvented myself before and I'm quite awesome at creating new environments for my children. I hope that they will grow to be resilient, accepting, and versatile individuals with a zest for life. Most of all, I hope my family will understand that I am doing the best I can for my children.
Planning is still a good idea. I love list making. But I also know that there needs to be a lot of flexibility built into your thought process. The strongest tree in the forest is not the one that stands upright, but one that sways and bends in the wind. (A favorite quote..just can't recall who said it.) And this ends my vacation story. I look forward to documenting our new challenges.