Musical Selection: Kindred the Family Soul|All My People
I’ve known them for over two years and have never seen them
On Saturday, December 03, 2022, I had the lovely opportunity to meet part of my work family. Yes, I said, “family.” I mean it. I’ve shared some harsh and intense days in radiology scheduling with these individuals.
We have a hard job — one that attempts to pummel us daily, but we all band together to provide support, guidance, understanding, and love to each other. I spend the bulk of my weekdays with them virtually (we work from home) and some of my Saturdays. These are my people. My family.
I have no shame in saying it. None at all.
Our direct supervisor has been trying to plan an outing for us to meet for what seems like forever, but this time, it happened. And I could not be happier.
BBQ can bring people together
One day, amidst a crazy scheduling day of the week, we all received an email including a poll on where we’d like to go and a selection of dates for when we’d like to meet.
Most of us chose yesterday and a city that is halfway between Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina. Our supervisor mentioned the barbeque spot, The Smoke Pit, and we were “all in for the win!”
This was my first outing to a restaurant to sit down and eat since before the pandemic began.
I was anxious. I was terrified. I almost backed out. But I am glad I did not.
When I arrived, only one of my team members was there. She was still sitting in her truck. I had questioned the restaurant staff about our party and no one had been inside or seated yet.
Anxiety continued to mount.
I knew everyone was on the way, but try telling that to my nerves. I decided not to pace in front of the establishment and walked over to my team member’s truck.
She had stated in our group’s text message she had already been there parked in the car lot. She was easy to spot.
We went in, grabbed a table, and waited for everyone else to arrive.
There is nothing like good food to usher in a good time. As you can see, the meal I had was not only picture-worthy, but it was satisfying as well.
Barbecue can do that. It has the power to bring people together.
Sharing smiles, games, and enjoying each other’s presence
Aside from the delicious food, there was a numbers game that included original paintings by one of my co-workers as gifts.
We did about three rounds of this game, and I took four different paintings home. I am going to give two of them to my mother (not pictured above).
We shared stories that involved incidents at work, how we feel about our new phone system, and missing supervisors and co-workers who have left us for other opportunities.
Our presence in this space drew attention from other customers, but we did not care. We had not seen each other or had congregated on this level in over two years, and having a blast was on the agenda.
A definite blast was had.
I conquered my fear, and it was worth it
For a little over two years, I had not sat down in a restaurant among other patrons to eat and enjoy a meal or conversation with anyone. I have placed orders with various eateries I love, selected the option for delivery or pickup, and casually went about my life.
I had a small meeting with one of my co-workers at a favorite coffee spot of mine nearly three months ago. Besides us, there were probably four to five other people in that small space. I also met up with Sherry Kappel for lunch at a spot that served patrons (and their dogs) outside a few months back as well. Neither was as overwhelming as this event nor did they send my nerves into overdrive.
This experience was a leap into something I now know I can do — I faced my fear of heading back into the “wild.”
And being with a group of people who I laugh, cry, and vent with every single workday was more than worth it.
Our supervisor not only paid for the holiday meet-up but also gave each of us a Croton houseplant (I’ve named mine “Lyric”), Christmas candy, and positive affirmations (at least 30 of them in a decorative jar). She showered us with love, just as she does every single day.
Sometimes family doesn’t have to have the same blood coursing through their veins as you. Sometimes family is who you choose and who chooses you.
©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt
Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.
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