First, the titles for my posts are song titles. I’ve either told you that or you’ve caught on by now. Sometimes I carefully select the titles, but most of the times, I simple hit play in iTunes and use the first song that comes up. Second, today’s post is about my co-workers. Clearly, I pressed play for this one. I could have called it “Part of Your World” or “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” but instead, I let fate take a turn, and this is what she dealt me. Plus, these are old photos . . . sue me.

August through June, I spend more time with my co-workers than I do my family. And pretty much like families, we all have our idiosyncrasies. Someone is usually good for a laugh. Someone makes sure you arrive on time. Someone focuses on exactly the words that need to be used in a report. Someone forgets where they put their keys. Someone complains as soon as you ask them to do something but then turns around and does what needs to be done.

This week, our art teacher is holding auditions for the annual school musical. For the past six or so years, I’ve helped out, listening to about 50 – 60 kids sing each year*. I’m always amazed at the talent that our kids possess. Small bodies belting out Broadway tunes. The shyest kid in the world suddenly morphs into a campy, scene-stealing bad guy. Speech impediments and learning disabilities disappear. And why? Because they enjoy staying after school three days a week? No. Because they like it.

We’re a pretty tight knit group of people. We share in each others’ joys. We shoulder each others’ pains. We laugh. We sigh deeply. We rant. We bitch. We fight. We hug. We cry. In a word, we’re a family. A mostly functional one, thankfully, but a family nonetheless. Today, I’m grateful for the family that I have for ten months out of the year. I couldn’t ask for a better one.

*I tell anyone who asks why I judge auditions that I do it for the chocolate covered pretzels at Christmas from the art teacher. Truly, I love seeing our kids in a different light. And after listening to about 15 renditions of “Part of Your World,” I’ve decided to audition for the musical this year. After the kids leave.