I got a phone message from my best sister-friend today. The girl who lives in Montana. The girl I grew up with and love and miss all the time and never see as much as close friends should. The girl I meet in Vegas every year.
I think she called yesterday. Maybe in the morning? I only heard the voice mail this afternoon.
“Hey, ladybug. I am the one out walking this time, calling you from a great path behind my house. So, you have a new job. So do I! I completely switched gears and am now an English teacher at the alternative high school. So what are we thinking at our ages? New jobs, new careers. Shouldn’t we be on cruises or something? Just want you to know I am thinking about you and miss you. I love you!”
I heard this message in the office at work, while I was crammed chair-to-chair next to my manager and one of the sous chefs. I heard this message after being reamed out by Chef for the third time in 24 hours. I heard this message after too many 14-hour days. My eyes immediately filled.
Okay, I have this thing about crying. I hate to do it. I hate that when I cry, my face morfs into blotchy eyes and mottled cheeks at the first saline teardrop. So, I don’t cry often.
And I have a rule: If you cry at work, on the job, you have to quit. That very day. No negotiating that.
Thus, I bit back the tears today. My poor lower lip.
So, after another 14-hour day, but a better mock service than yesterday, I am contemplating what the hell I am doing with my life, when Restaurant Gal Daughter calls.
At 2:10 a.m.
And I am wide awake.
I answer the call on the first ring, fully alert, because I am revved up and not winding down whatsoever from my job.
Restaurant Gal Daughter and I talk and talk and talk–about her adjustment to the new school, about her long-time boyfriend and how rocky things are, about the challenges she is facing as a transfer, about all that is very real to her at this very moment.
I thank God I am awake to hear her out, and that I can offer all the advice in my Mom arsenal.
And although we are both crying throughout this conversation, I am thanking my new boss and Chef for this opportunity.
Not to work for them. Not to be a part of their start-up.
No, today–or is it tonight–I thank them for having me work such horrible hours and be so stressed that I could not sleep, and, therefore, be 100 percent available for my daughter, no matter the hour of day or night.
I just knew there had to be a reason for all this.