I made it.
"I made it this far," I sighed with relief as I settled on the bus and it pulled out of FBC at 6:47pm. I got everyone on the bus. That's amazing. I felt very adult-like.
That was yesterday. I am surrogate youth minister for retreats and wednesday nights as our youth minister is on sabbatical. My first "retreat" actually being the one is charge. I'm used to leading worship, or teaching or playing cards, but being responsible for 25 little lives? It was daunting. Not to mention the "If this gets screwed up you're dead meat" sound system and the lighting system for the dance Saturday nigh (also not mine) , and of course my own trusty college projector and computer which could also bring a price for my head if ruined or stolen.
And then there were the students.
"I cannot believe you're making us go home."
"I didn't make that decision."
"I can't believe you won't let us have a lock-in at the church instead."
"None of the other counselors will stay, I can't do it by myself."
"I can't believe you won't let us have a slumber party at your house."
"Some of your parents would be more panicked about you staying the night in my neighborhood than they would about us driving back in ice. Get a grip. I'll make it up to you. There's another youth retreat in two weeks."
"That retreat's for youth led worship. Don't try and trick us. You owe us big."
Is this what normal youth ministers experience?
I think the "three musketeers" are no longer speaking to me. This is not much of a change since they never listen to me either (14 year old boys), so what's one more sense lost?
"What are you going to do if it's sunny tomorrow here, Miss Pittman?" (I hate it when they call me that. They only do it to get under my skin and it works).
"Well, I guess I'll see you at church then. But it won't be sunny. There's an ice storm coming tomorrow."
And Austin is panicking. They're considering shutting down the city for two days Monday and Tuesday.
Truth be told, if we were in Missouri or Colorado and conditions were as they were at Glen Rose, I wouldn't have thought twice about the roads. We'd have stayed the whole weekend. But this is Texas which means several things: 1. Texans panic at the thought of ice or snow or sleet, 2. they have no clue how to drive on or in any of the aforementioned states, and 3. they have no salt on the roads which, if the ground actually gets cold enough that it ices, it is dangerous.
So it's best we left.
Although the students would have preferred to be stranded with one another at the retreat center. It sounds very romantic now, but how about on Monday evening when we're still there and they're sick of playing cards and basketball? I can just hear it, "Now what can we do?"
But they're such a great group of kids. They just like to raz me. They love me, but whenever I claim to be the youth minister, they're always quick to remind me, "substitute."
I actually only had to play that card once. Last night around 1:15am when we could hear the boys talking and howling through the walls. I threw back the covers and marched over to their door, politely banged on it and stuck my head into the dark room. "This is Ann, I'm playing the youth minister card. Now shut it."
They really are swell kids.
And I made it.