Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back to Routine

Those of you on Facebook already know, and if you share any DNA with me, you must be living under a rock not to know. Yesterday I officially resigned my management job to accept a teaching position at a high school here in Escondido. Yeah! Considering how dour the economic outlook is in California, I am truly grateful to have this opportunity presented to me.

It is bittersweet for me, as I will just miss my five year anniversary with the company. I will also miss the generous employee discount, and the travel up and down the West coast. In my five year tenure, I made many wonderful friends, and I know I altered the path of friendship yesterday when I made those dozen phone calls. Christmas cards may be exchanged and we may talk on occasion, but I will be an outsider now, and that makes me kind of sad. For those of you who have never worked retail, and think it is all about folding sweaters and standing around looking cute, let me tell you, IT IS HARD. It is not just about folding sweaters and looking cute. It is about maintaining a house that is probably bigger than the one you are living in, and it can range from changing a lightbulb in a twenty foot ceiling to soothing a customer who thinks Fed-Ex lost her jacket only to realize two days later that it is hanging mysteriously in her closet. It is about making your numbers and being proud that you did, and not making your numbers and having to take a look at yourself and your staff to figure out how you are going to right the ship.

It is also about early bird mornings where the store is dismantled and re-assembled, and everyone remains in a state of confusion for three days because they can't find the pants "that were just on this rack two days ago." It is about decorating for Christmas in October, and passing out candy to trick or treaters in the mall, all while standing outside the store, feet from a huge sled, so that the constant in and out of candy grabbers won't ruin your conversion. It is visits from V.P.s and executives and quick bites to eat in between customers, and it is patiently listening to an older woman sob in the fitting room because she lost her husband last year and she is so lonely she wants to die.

I've learned these past five years.

But now I have a baby whose first haircut I missed because I was working. And the morning I left him to return to work, I ate oatmeal over the kitchen sink, sobbing because I was a working mother. The Rev. and I had a deal. I would stay home when the kids came. Well, the kids never came, and then one finally did, the deal had to be altered. He had the baby at his office and I went to work. "I am doing this for him, not to him," I would say over and over again, as I dragged my breast pump into my tiny office. I watched his father take him trick or treating at the mall because I was working, and I relished every minute of Christmas Day, because I knew that I would be leaving again the next day for an early round of post-Christmas bargain hunters. There were many later afternoon hand offs, as I came walking in the door from work, and The Rev. was walking out for a meeting or a hospital visit. Lucas didn't nap on Thanksgiving Day, because his parents were in the same room and he couldn't believe his good fortune. Truly, something to say grace about.

So, now it is time to embrace a routine, and weekends off, and the holidays. No more missed haircuts or church events, and I could not be happier. The Rev. and I just watched a movie this week, and the main character narrated a great line, "You go back to visit, and it looks the same, and it smells the same, and the people are same, but you realize that you are the one who has changed." And that bittersweet summation of life is so true. I have changed, but I know these past five years happened for a purpose, and I am looking forward to being a better wife, mother, and teacher.

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