Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Easing My Grip

Maggie was recently talking about when she was in high school and wanted to work at the Rainforest Cafe but I said 'YOU CANNOT WORK THERE.  IT IS AT THE MALL."

I don't remember this conversation but it sounds like something I would say.  I hate most malls.  No window to the outside world, the Abercrombie smell from fives store away, the Dead Sea scrub stalkers, the flat-iron kiosk where they eye me so eagerly with their hair tools, and all that stuff.  I will think of any alternative to avoid the mall (including shipping charges) and so the thought of sending my kid there every day must have sent me over a maternal cliff.

She also said I told her she couldn't work at Culvers because the location was sketch and those places don't close until at least 10:00.  This also sounds like me except the location isn't sketch and I am up and down that street at least 2-3 times a week.

Oh the poor firstborn with the drone for a mother.

Will worked at a bagel shop all through high school and on college breaks.  This was acceptable until he had to work on Easter.  "EASTER?  YOU HAVE TO SELL BAGELS ON EASTER?  THAT IS RIDICULOUS AND TELL THEM I SAID SO." But that place usually closed by 4:00 and so that was okay because he wouldn't be coming home after dark and I wouldn't have to go on anti-anxiety meds.

Mal has worked for the last couple of years at a restaurant in the KC shopping and dining district. She often gets off work past midnight.

Oh the third child with the mother who has surrendered.

For two years Mal has talked about going to New York City for an intensive dance program.  She worked like crazy and saved all the money to pay for it herself.  I tended to think (or maybe hope) that my youngest one wouldn't really go to that big city for a whole summer, and so when she'd haul in another big check and I'd see her bank balance online I'd think, "Well good for her.  Look at all that money she's saving."  Then she applied, sent off a video of her dancing and got accepted.

I stuffed down every fear I had and breathed into paper bags.

We talked over and over about her going there by herself.  I tried to enlist her brother to accompany her but he started a new job and had no vacation time.  Mark had a grant deadline and couldn't take off work.  Taking me and my sense of direction would have been a hindrance instead of help.  She insisted she was perfectly capable of going alone.  I ordered a car to meet her at the gate and take her to her summer home and then put the fear of God into her about calling me when she got there.

Her summer dance program ended on Saturday and Mark and I went there to see her and the performance.  I needn't have worried so much.  She has been more than capable of managing the city, her classes, her money, her future career and the subway.

In our conversation about working and first jobs Maggie asked me why I was always so goofy about launching each of them off into the world.

"Oh dearie," I thought.  "Only a mother would understand the answer to that question"

In the blink of an eye all three of them have grown up and surpassed me in many ways when it comes to life experiences. The hard, day-after-day work of raising them is behind me.

My new job is to stay out of their way.


  1. I had no idea you lived in Kansas City-- I do , too! Maybe that's part of the connection I felt to your writing.

  2. Great piece! Yes, we have to stay out of their way. Now that ours are 56 and 54, I continue my action (or inaction) of no questions asked about their life problems or finances or the raising of their children. They know I am not disinterested but I am also sure they know I'm not nosey!