I don’t know what was tougher—the pitocin drip during my induced labor, sending my son off to school for the first time or what he asked me to do last week. All three reduced me to tears.
Last week I gave him a ride to his first part-time job. Talk about heart-wrenching! It sure reminded me of his first day of school when he walked in and didn’t look back. He did the same thing this time. He sat in the car with me for a few minutes. Yes, he was anxious and nervous. I said a few things (some quotes/lines from his favorite movies) to get him laughing, then he was off. “Okay, I’m going in.” He walked through the door and didn’t look back. His first day on the job was supposed to be a short four-hour shift, but someone called in sick and the manager asked if he could stay and work another shift. So he said yes. Is someone becoming flexible or what?
He texted me once to tell me he was staying longer and that he’d need some food and once more to declare “I’m almost done! Tomorrow I’m sleeping in.”
When I picked him up, he sauntered out of the building and I immediately noticed that something was different. He’d changed. He wasn’t the unsure teen I dropped off hours earlier. He’d had a new experience so there was a bit of measured cockiness in his step. Like the Henry Hill character in “Goodfellas” the first time he got “pinched” and Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) congratulated him declaring, “You broke your cherry!”
He was carrying a huge jug of drinking water. He opened the car door, sighed and said, “Well, I made about $70 today! Tomorrow I’m not doing anything, mom. My legs and feet hurt from standing so long. This is good training for marching band. And I thought band practice was a bitch!” (He took a swig of water.) “Look, I bought this for two bucks! Well, it only cost $1.20, but I gave ‘em $2 for it.” Knowing how he is with money, I then asked if he got change. “Well yeah, of course, mom.”
Wow. Who knew that one day on the job would change him in so many positive ways?
Later on when I said good night to him I again told him how proud I was of him and in my moment of weakness I suggested he take his first paycheck and spend it on whatever he wanted. We had already had discussions about saving some, but I wanted to reward him. His response floored me. “No mom, I think I’ll save it.”
I hope you all get to experience this exciting adventure with your kids when the time comes. As we tiptoe through the process, we learn new things every moment. From struggling with scheduling to self-advocating to attitude, transitions and more. What a treasure trove of life lessons each workday brings us. Please share your stories of your kids’ employment—we’d love to hear them!
What fun! What growth!
I’m feeling more and more like an empty-nester. What a weird feeling that is! Time to clean some closets.