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Our family calendar looked like a work of art with many notes in different colors. Beth’s last few months of high school filled up with senior events. She kept up with swim training and National Team paperwork. Her scholarship applications paid off with presentations in three cities. Sadly, we would have to miss the spring wheelchair games in Michigan and Ohio.
Beth trained a junior to take over the school newspaper and prepared the final issues. She studied for AP exams, though Harvard gave no college credits for AP scores. We shopped for a prom dress. She picked out a strapless style in light blue chiffon that fell between her knees and ankles—so it wouldn’t get caught in the small front wheels. Online, I showed her what looked like the perfect jeans, made especially for wheelchair users with a higher back and a lower front. She wasn’t interested. Predictably.
Ready to be done with high school, Beth had a classic case of senioritis.
My job as a group home manager taxed my time, always on my mind. Some aspects of the job seemed easier with repetition, like complicated medications. The overwhelming responsibility never changed. I anticipated problems, but many could not be diffused. I barreled through my twenty-four shifts with a nagging headache I did my best to ignore. On my days off, I fielded numerous phone calls from my staff.
With the group home basement and every closet jammed full of stuff, I received permission to have a garage sale. I cleared out more than a few mice nests along with tons of junk. The residents helped enthusiastically to earn their own personal money for the possessions they chose to get rid of.
A big success, the sale fell on a beautiful spring day.
With the income from the home’s extra stuff, I planned a very rare vacation for the residents. The trip to Niagara Falls with two of my staff wouldn’t have been possible without the sale. The April day when I found another nest of baby mice at the group home, I gladly gave the agency my three-month notice and started the countdown to our Harvard adventure.
Next: Minneapolis Trials!
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