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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Life of an unemployed motherPosted Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 8:44 AM
I don't remember applying for the job.
But when I realized indeed the job would be mine, I vowed to do the very best I could. I wasn't qualified -- that I knew. But with youthful optimism and sheer ignorance, I forged ahead.
I soon discovered (the hard way) the job was much tougher than it looked from the outside. There were times I considered quitting, but that cost wasn't something I could risk. Instead, I doubled down my efforts, sending up more than just a few prayers along the way. Of course, having a great on-the-job partner helped a lot.
At some point, the job became a little easier. There were more rewarding moments than trying ones. The pay was lousy, but the perks more than made up for the lack of bankable dollars. After awhile, I realized it was a job I never wanted to give up.
So imagine the emotions when I started to realize the job someday would end.
It wasn't that I hadn't done a good job. Most of time it was clear, I had indeed been adequate. Not perfect of course. There had been bad days, even bad weeks. But I showed up seven days a week, at least physically. Sick days were frowned upon, but there were a few. But I always had a great substitute.
Looking back at the end result, I knew I had succeeded, perhaps despite myself. I believe the prayers, along with a great partner, helped more than my own efforts.
But 18 years after the job began, I was fired. The news came a little at a time, and I struggled to accept it. First it was a look, then later the hints came in grunts, groans and rolling eyes. Eventually, though, I had to face reality as I was told in language I could understand. "Mom, I don't need your help anymore. I am grown up."
I can remember taking home a colicky baby, who wouldn't sleep, nor let me sleep. There may have been a few times, I dreamed (daydreamed, perhaps) about the moment he would leave for college.
But, then the colic ended, and his smiles and giggles followed. Then came wet kisses, soft chubby cheeks and more memories than I could ever recall. There were ball games and fairs, bottle calves, show calves and laughter. There were school days, long nights, homework, teacher's conferences and awards. There were arguments, agreements and more than a few threats.
But now, despite all I had learned, and all the hard-earned wisdom I could share, I was fired. No severance pay, no gold watch, no pension. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zero.
I realize now I treated my mother the same way. No doubt she did a good job, but at a certain point that didn't matter. I didn't need her advice anymore. After all, at age 18 I knew all there was to know. Any advice would make me bristle...until I took on the job of mother myself.
But somehow, I think it might be even harder to be a mother of a boy. In society, we make fun of men who somehow seem too attached to their mothers. "Mama's boys" we call them.
Sadly, I never aspired to have a Mama's boy, but now (even though it's too late) it seems like a good idea at times.
But, alas, I don't really want to end up on Dr. Phil.
So now, I work at a different job. It's a job of holding back. A job of giving more support and less advice. A job of biting my tongue, even though I am sure if they only would listen to me -- just one more time -- I could solve all their problems.
But instead, I remember their father and I gave them wings. We wanted them to fly. Even if at times it seems like they take off in the wrong direction.
Looking at the men they have become, though, I realize even though I have now been fired twice, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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