Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rewind. Do-Over. Second Chance.

Have a seat, we'll be right with you.
We had dentist appointments on Saturday. My husband and I take turns going in because the dentist can only work on one of us at a time. I was first-up. When I was done, I sat with my son in the waiting room watching him play BungeeBall on his iPod Touch (purchased with his own money, mind you). As he was playing I was explaining to him the physics involved in making the momentum of the bungee chord do what he wanted it to do and go where he wanted it to go. It was fun!

Another victim patient came in, told his name to the receptionist and that's when I looked up. The name was a blast from the past. It was an old co-worker I worked with when I was a young, fresh-out-of-college engineer. He sat down and we started catching up. There was a lot of catching up to do as the last time I worked at the company was over 17 years ago.

Remember, I was young, I was fresh out of college, I had something to prove. To say I was determined to make my mark in the engineering world was an understatement. This is how this co-worker remembered me and was shocked to learn I was a stay-at-home mom.

Our conversation went a little something like this (man, I'm so disappointed in my responses):

Old Co-worker: So, what in the world have you been doing since you left our company.
Me: Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom.
Old Co-worker: Really? Wow, I never would have guessed it? You were always so determined, such a go-getter.
Me: (Silence. Insert chirping crickets here.)
Old Co-worker: Well, don't get me wrong, I mean, being a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world...probably? (So unoriginal.)
Me: Well, you know me, I've been doing other things, too!
Old Co-worker: Like what?
Me: Well...(here comes the resume) I started my own college admissions consulting company, I write a daily blog, I'll be opening an Etsy shop soon to sell my jewelry designs, I'm writing a couple of books, I started some enrichment clubs for kids and teens, I help out at the school, blah, blah, blah.

It was a train wreck that just couldn't stop. Even after the wreck, the trains just kept dragging on the rails, inching into the point of no return; a black abyss of thinking who I am is defined by what I do. The only thing that stopped the wreck was the call of fluoride and a dental drill.

Man, can't I take my own advice? I write and I write and I think I've got it all together; I think I've got it all figured out. I've had the revelation of knowing who I am is not what I do. I've grown, I've become wiser. Then, when I get tested, I relapse. All those words I wrote become just that, words. So, I have to re-read posts like this one, and this one, and hope to get another chance to be tested again, so I can feel like I finally passed. If I could have a re-take, the following conversation would have earned me a solid "A".
Old Co-worker: So, what in the world have you been doing since you left our company?
Me: Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom.
Old Co-worker: Really? Wow, I never would have guessed it? You were always so determined, such a go-getter.
Me: (Silence.)
Old Co-worker: Well, don't get me wrong, I mean, being a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world...probably?
Me: Well, you know, I've finally got my priorities straight.
Old Co-worker: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I finally wised up to what's really important. I don't need the accolades of a boss to make me feel my worth. I feel it everyday in the eyes of my son and husband. Yes, it's probably one of the hardest jobs out there, but that's the difference. It's not a job, it's my life, it's my responsibility, and it makes me happy in the purest of ways.
Now, that's what I wish I would have said. I'll try better next time.


Ever come up with your best lines and comebacks after the conversation has been had?

5 comments:

Betty Sneeringer said...

Whether you think your conversation went good or not you should feel good about all your accomplishments. The most important thing is that you are now choosing the best life - for you and your family at this particular time. I never had a career other than wife and mom and keeper of the house. At times over the years I would feel a little inferior to other womem but I don't any longer even though all my friends are retired professional women.

Betty

I am LOVD said...

Sweet Betty, thank you for your kind words. They are more encouraging than you realize. Hugs and kisses!

Michele said...

Lilly, this post is amazing. Amazing. Amazing. You have me laughing and contemplating at the same time. And I really, really wish you were close so I could talk you into joining us Friday mornings for Odyssey of the Mind - we need you!! The physics in making the momentum of the bungee chord - must know more. If you have any science books to recommend for kids I am all ears.

xoxo michele

Michele said...

Which leads me to now ask, the books that you are writing - science related? For kids? Pretty please...

the cheese thief said...

I thought I was the only one that thinks of comebacks after the fact. I'm probably the only one that then tries to re-live the comeback and say it at an awkward time where it doesn't even fit into the conversation. I like both of your responses.

 

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