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Even during my most cynical times, I’ve joked that my grandmother has a direct phone line to God himself… the lady’s faith is impervious. Well, Grandma must’ve been burning up the line in the last 36 hours. That’s the only explanation for the supernaturally resounding “click” as everything fell into place.

Yesterday morning at 8, Bobby, Sue & I met for breakfast at a little place called Jack’s & plotted our strategy for the day. At 9, we walked to College of Charleston’s Financial Aid office, armed for battle. Battle, however, wasn’t necessary… a young man named Travis listened & nodded & vowed to help Sue in any way that he can. He handed Sue a handful of forms & told her to return them the next day.

Feeling intoxicated by our success, we marched away — Susanna to class, Bobby & I to shop for Maggie & Sadie’s Easter dresses. I was determined to find them matching smocked outfits, and figured that Charleston, the Land of Traditional Southern Children’s Clothing, was a sure thing. Wandering along, we finally found what we were looking for — a shop simply bursting with tiny, expensive, smocked clothing. I charged in, looking for matching outfits, and suddenly tuned into the conversation taking place at the counter between the Owner Lady & a customer. Owner Lady: “I know they say that the economy’s awful & everybody needs a job, but WHERE are those people?! I can’t even seem to find a part-time employee to help me here in the shop!”

I promptly picked up a charming smocked seersucker bishop for Maggie with a matching bubble for Sadie (I was raised by a smocking mama — words like “bishop” and “bubble” were common in our house), and marched to the counter, where Bobby and I proceeded to give an tag-teaming sales pitch for Susanna. Like, seriously, we were hard-selling with all our might. After lunch, Sue headed back to the children’s shop, where the Owner Lady hired her on the spot. ON THE SPOT, people, at well above minimum wage, starting this coming Friday. For a somewhat obscene amount of money, we got matching smocked Easter outfits & Sue a job.

And then… because this story isn’t quite over… we all wrote personal statements about why Sue should be able to file the FAFSA independently. Sue put it all together neatly, and headed to the Financial Aid office this morning. Travis the Fairy Godfather told her to wait while he talked to the Director. Sue sat quietly and listened as their voices grew heated in the office next door. Finally, Travis the Fairy Godfather reappeared. Sitting behind his desk, he said, “My boss, the Director, won’t approve your request. But he said that I should do what I think is right. And so you’re approved. I’m gonna take care of you.” Sue started crying, and Travis the Fairy Godfather frantically scrambled for tissues.

I’m still kind of blown away by how quickly and (relatively) easily things happened. Sue’s going to be able to file independently of our father, which means that she’ll receive much more financial aid from the government. She starts her new job this week, which means that she’ll have income for groceries, gas, etc. Her cupboard is still crammed with food from my grandparents, and her checking account is well above zero, thanks to my mother’s family.

I’m thankful. I am.

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