Have you observed how life sometimes gives us answers we weren't even aware we were looking for? How, in John Lennon's words, "life is what happens while we're busy making other plans"? If we live long enough, and if we are very, very lucky, our past will catch up with our future, and all will be melded into the sweetest circle, a kind of continuous joyful Karma that colors our relationships, our actions, and weaves into the fabric of our lives a golden thread that is more precious than we could imagine.
When I leave before dawn most days to drive to work, my father sees me off and tells me to have a good day, he being a night owl and still up from the previous afternoon. He helps me get my lunch ready and makes sure the porch and carport lights are on so I can see. It doesn't seem so long ago that a little girl would do the same for her beloved Daddy-o, making his lunch the previous day (his favorite was egg salad sandwich) and looking foward to the evening hours when he would arrive back home. I wonder if he is as proud of me as I always was of him; after all, he was a MANAGER and a big hot-shot boss, and this meant to his little girl that he was the equivalent of the President of the U.S. How I would love to see him get dressed up in a suit for his many business trips across the country, for seminars and trade shows and training sessions. I always hated to see him leave, but I got to know the Houston Intercontinental Airport VERY well, and in fact felt like it was my second home sometimes. The best part was when he would come back, and I could see him walking down the "connector" from the plane to the terminal. You never saw a happier daughter, because her daddy was HOME. He would bring all sorts of goodies for me and mom, souvenirs, freebies from the shows, etc. Mom would make her famous spaghetti, and things were right once again.
As I have traveled to different states now for the same things; i.e., conferences, training, etc., it always makes me happiest to return home, and I know exactly how he must have felt. I too, bring "goodies" from my trip, and fill him in on discoveries of the city I visited. Sometimes, after a trip or just a day at work, he will have supper waiting for me. The roles have been a little blurred, but I still look up to him, and always will.
How does one handle a situation in which one's former boss becomes part of one's staff? The previous lab manager, who occupied that title for FORTY years, has semi-retired, and, as most Medical Technologists do, become restless without the daily challenge that comes with working in the medical field. So, he is back working in the lab, PRN, and enjoying it thoroughly. I know he enjoys just being a tech, as he was not allowed to for so many years, acting as manager and having all those worries that go along with the title. He can now just work and not take anything home with him; he now has a supervisor that does that instead of himself. The role reversal here is sometimes strange to me, but he takes it in stride, and when I have to go to that monthly manager's meeting, he just smiles knowingly. He gives me a grin when I hurriedly place supply orders, try to calm down an irate doctor on the other end of the line, or when I let out an audible groan when I realize an instrument problem is more than I can troubleshoot and must call in service (anyone see dollar signs with wings flying off yet? I do...all the time) to fix the problem. He allows me to stumble and pick myself up, without ever saying "That's not the way I would do it", or "You're barking up the wrong tree". He will give me advice only if asked, and I couldn't ask for a better boss......er, employee. Gotta keep that straight. Gotta remember I'M the boss now. Weird.
The circle has come around once again, with an MLT student in training at our lab this semester and next. It honestly seems like yesterday that I was the student, and remember how green and inexperienced I was. The questions seemed too numerous to handle, and it seemed I would NEVER get it. I would never be a seasoned, comfortable, knowledgeable tech like those who trained me in my rotations. It felt to me like the world was just so big, so complicated, that little ol' me didn't even have a clue where to start. The techs that patiently trained me, answered my questions, guided me, cheered me when I did well, and gently corrected me when I didn't, made all the difference. I owe them, and my MLT teacher, everything that I am today. Twenty-three years ago, I never would have imagined I would be in the position of managing a lab and welcoming students, shaping their futures, and imparting the agony and the joy of my chosen profession. I pray each day that I do right by them, and I give them what they need to succeed. I find it so strange, but wonderful that I have been given the privelege to teach and to share my knowledge.
I am indeed lucky that my life has come full circle, and that I can look back and see my past entwined with my future. The sweetest days I spend now are those in which the echoes from my past color my present with their rich hues. The days that dad tells me, "Be careful going to work and I'll see you when you get home". The days that I am able to pass along knowledge from the techs that taught me. The days that I can ask my former boss "Did you ever have days like this?" and he just smiles at me without saying a word.
These are the days I treasure, and these are the days where I become almost dizzy from the ride on life's sweet circle. These are the days I hope will never end.