A. and I don't really agree as far as our opinions of her day care center establishment are concerned. I see them as extremely organized, amazing individuals, willing to work on the hard issues that matter with A. on a daily basis -- in short, I love them. A., on the other hand, really can't stand to go there, and will often try to think of schemes to get out of going there, especially if she has to stay there for longer than a couple of hours. Because the day care system is directly tied to the public school system, the center is closed whenever the Central Office is closed -- which makes the winter holidays especially tricky to navigate. While I am disappointed that the center is closed so much over Christmas break, A. is absolutely delighted. Once again, we just can't see eye to eye on this.
One thing was for certain, however; she was simply going to have to come to work for me for at least some small part of her vacation. We picked out one specific day, and I brought A. to my place of employment.
To be fair, I wasn't flying completely blind with this decision. I've brought A. to work with me before --sometimes for just a few hours or for half a day -- but she's always done a wonderful job. Usually, she draws pictures and plays with her Nintendo DS, but she's generally pretty good about keeping herself entertained. At any rate, I didn't really have any worries or reservations about bringing her to work with me; I just made sure she had plenty of things to keep herself entertained, and I set out to start my day.
I was not expecting, however, for A. to be so completely engaged, interactive, and interested in how I was spending my time at work.
I work in a very small office, no bigger than a broom closet -- which means that A. and I were pretty much sitting on top of each other and in each other's space while she was here. Understandably, A. couldn't help
but notice what I was doing on the computer since the large screen was positioned nearly directly in front of her line-of-sight. She would watch what I emailed to other members of the company, and she would ask questions about what I meant. When I opened up a spreadsheet to input pieces of data into the cells, she wanted to know what it was for -- what the abbreviations meant, what "compliance" meant, and what would happen to our restaurants if we failed one of these inspections. I explained as best and simply as I could, all the while being absolutely amazed that A. would be the slightest bit interested in what I often consider to be rather boring, tedious work. On a personal level, it was quite nice for me -- I was able to gain a fresh perspective on some of these tasks, and see them with a "child's eyes," so-to-speak. It help kept me focused and actually caused me to be amazingly productive for the entire day.
Later, A. helped me with a very small task. My department had decided to purchase some small chocolates and make little "thank you" cards for specific members of other departments who really help make our life easier every day. I had all of the materials available, but I was going to have to cut out the certificates and stuff them with the candies into envelopes. I decided to enlist A. to help with this activity -- I had her cut out the certificates first, and then after I addressed the envelopes to the appropriate individuals, I had A. stuff each envelope with candy and a certificate. She did a great job and also seemed very eager to help -- something that she does not always find interesting or entertaining to do.
While we were eating lunch, a few of the members of upper management in our department wanted to show us the PowerPoint presentation they were working on for our big company meeting in a few months. A. was mesmerized. This was due in large part to the flashy animations and interesting graphics the managers had used in the illustration of several points in the slides (which, as I pointed out, is a great sign, since if A. approves of the presentation, it would likely get the attention of the managers.) However, she was also doing an amazing job of actually reading the information off the graphs! She understood that a certain pie chart meant certain restaurant concepts generated more money while others generated much less, and she commented on this fact with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was so proud of her, not only because she was "getting" it, but also because she was so eager to actively communicate with the entire department about these work-related issues.
It was a really wonderful day. A. had a great time, I had a wonderful time. I actually managed to get several things done, and A. never got bored with anything. Moreover, it warmed my heart with promise of the future -- if A. really does understand even this much about a corporate office at her age, it seems much more likely that, one day, she really *will* become self-sufficient, and she might just be capable of holding down and even succeeding in an occupation of some kind. Since that is still one of life's Big Mysteries for me, it's wonderful to be able to witness these moments of promise and hope; it gives us both something to continue striving for.