The other night I had to go back to work after a week and a half hiatus. I was so distraught that I called my mom from outside the office before I went inside. I whined. And mostly she didn’t listen. She was in a good mood about napkin rings or something and wasn’t indulging my compaints at all. At one point I started to say, “I feel like my soul is dying,” but she cut me off.
At the end of the conversation she said, “Go to work. You have to do it.” And hearing those words reminded me of all the times she’d told me similar things–when I didn’t want to go to school, or softball practice, or Abby’s ninth birthday party at the roller rink. I’m not sure there was anything I did want to do as a child. Many times I’d sit beside one of our cats on the floor and feel the strongest envy towards its lifestyle. All you have to do all day is sleep. You have it so good, Smokey. So hearing my mom say, “You have to do it,” triggered that same old whiney response from growing up. “I know. You don’t have to tell me.”
As soon as those words came out, though, I realized I needed to pull myself together. It was disgusting. It was like I’d forgotten to take my dignity with me when I’d left the house that day.
Anyway. Work was fine. I survived. Just as I survived school, and softball practice, and Abby’s ninth birthday party.
Funny story–one time at softball practice I was playing catch with one of my teammates to warm up. We’d separated from the group a little bit and gone by the fence at the edge of the field. My dad came over and was watching us from the other side of the fence. My teammate saw him and didn’t realize it was my dad. She thought it was a stranger and a threatening one, too. She told me to follow her to another part of the field, away from the fence.
I didn’t tell her it was my dad or that he was nothing to worry about. Which I would feel guilty about, except…I didn’t want to be at practice to begin with.