“What are you going to do about this damn storm?” she asked my mother.
“Perhaps you’d like to speak to the superintendant?” my mother replied.
There was nothing she could do about this storm, or the weather in general. She never had been able to control the weather. She did, however, control the switchboard at Independent School District 206. She answered these kind of calls from angry parents whenever a snow storm threatened to cancel, or did cancel school for the day. The students of ISD 206, as I can attest to personally, loved snow days. A freebie. Somedays, if you were super lucky you would actually get a snow day on the day a large test was scheduled. Many nights before exams were spent praying for large amounts of snow. But religious intervention or not, parents were never happy. It meant time off of work, or finding a baby sitter, or worst case scenario, staying home with them yourself.
My mother had been cursed at, yelled at, threatened, hung up on. “One moment please,” shewould answer. “Where is the bus?” “Is the bus going to be later?” “What does two hours late mean? Then what time will it come?” “Two hours late, well then why not just cancel it?” “Why isn’t it canceled?” She was always, “one moment please,” cleared of the situation.
This was not the case at home. Even though, at times, after taking hundreds of phone calls, she still answered our home phone “Alexandria Public Schools….” things were not as easy as a simple call transfer. My mother could no more control the weather, than my father. After he left, she was just so sad. Perhaps humiliated. Perhaps angry. Perhaps frustrated. Perhaps as unsure of what to do as the parent on the other line screaming, “What are you going to do about the damn storm?”
And what was she going to do? There was no one to transfer the responsibility to… she had to deal with it. She had to cry and count the sleeping pills on the night stand and force herself to eat, and then put on clothes, two sizes smaller than last year, and go to work, and as cheerfully as possible, greet the people on the phones and at the door. And she did. One damn storm after another, she got herself to work. And day after day, year after year, call after call, it all became a little more managable. And some days, they, we, would laugh. That was some storm!
We all get through. Sometimes it just takes a moment. Please.