My boss told me, while we were walking to coffee this morning, that he was sorry.
"Sorry? For what?"
"I tried to get some kind of award for you, some kind of recognition for the 17 years of service you've given to the company...everyone refused me. I told them that they make a big deal whenever a government employee retires--and that you had given them excellent service for 17 years and deserve some kind of recognition...but they refused."
I am the only surviving member of the 7 different contract companies that I've gone through while working for the government. Everyone else has been laid off or fired.
I really didn't expect anything from the bosses--but to hear that they were asked and then flat out refused?
For all the extra hours I worked. For all the times I was cool in crisis and handled emergencies for them. For multiple letters of praise I have received from Majors and Chiefs down to the smallest working person...For the extra hours I spent off hours planning and purchasing things for Christmas parties for them...ugh...I can't and do not even wish to list all I have done.
I am more then disheartened, I'm hurt.
Ever feel like 17 years of hard work was for...nothing? When I think of all the stress, all the worry, all the times I came in sick because I didn't want to let my job down. The exhaustion of raising a special needs child, not even taking a day off for "maternity" leave because it would leave my coworkers short handed...Working nights, staying up during the day to raise my child...going back to work on 2 hours sleep and still acquiring praise for my level of work...UGH...
I took today off from work to attend MW's (MiniWarrior)High School Forecast meeting at his Middle school.
It is the first such luxury for me--to be able to take time off work without stress or worry--to focus totally on MW and his future.
He sat so tall beside me. So handsome. We were surrounded by goofy 8th graders, hair flipping in their eyes, their wrangly bodies dressed in a variety of sweatshirts and over sized tee shirts. I looked at them all with a smile. They are so young. Their whole life ahead of them. This was the first steps into adulthood for them all.
I walked with MW after the meeting to his classroom. He called out as I was slipping out the door, "I love you, Mom!" I paused, smiled, sighing inside myself.
"I love you too, Baby"
It is a testament to his sweetness that he didn't balk at my slip of calling him Baby.
He smiled, waved and I closed the door, exiting his school world.
I can't express to you how dear this boy is. How sweet. How infinitely precious he is.
He has such challenges but he faces them head on with an openness of spirit that makes those of us who carry scars, wince.
I was so worried he would be bullied when he hit middle school. He never has been. I think it is his sheer openness. His complete lack of guile that acts as a bubble of protectiveness around him.
He attends a teen night at an open gym on Friday nights. Regular teens hang there with limited supervision. The first time he was old enough to attend the teen night, I paid the fee and turned to leave--thinking not to cling to him and embarrass him in front of the other teens.
"Mom wait!" He called out and pulling me into a hug he kissed me softly on my cheek. "I love you, Mom".
I hugged him stiffly, hoping to prevent his being labeled as a Momma's boy. A group of teen guys watched the display and one of them snorted.
MW turned and smiled his magical, guileless smile at them and I watched the derision wipe from their faces and softness enter their eyes.
MW is like that. Everyone he meets, cannot help but love him.
So many things have changed in a year. I haven't caught up with it all. Every quiet moment I have, my brain goes into hyper drive and tries to fit another piece into the 50,000 piece puzzle of my life.
So far, I only have the edge pieces figured out and a beginning of the first row inside the frame.
The loss of EWO (my Mother) has turned out to be a vast, endless, vacant space inside of me. A childhood schoolmate described her feeling at the loss of her parents as a sensation of floating alone in an ocean. I couldn't have described it better.
I'm trying not to be an uninhabitable island, but I find myself consumed with so many intricate emotions that I curl into myself, trying to shut out the world so I can find my feet again.
EWO delighted in mental torture of me when I was a child. She was like a child from the Lord of the Flies novel. Untamed, wild, alternating between cruel and childlike sweetness.
Half of my brain says, "Why are you grieving? Do you wish for her to be back and in your life?"
The other half chants, "I cannot believe she is gone...I cannot believe she is gone..."
I walk and feel the wind on my face and I grieve at the knowledge that she, a passionate lover of nature, no longer feels the winds wild kiss on her face. No longer hears the song of trees, rustling and bending.
And I feel like I'm floating, completely alone in the world.
But I am not alone. I know this.
MiniWarrior starts High School this Fall. Every day I am thankful for my wonderful child/man. He has not lost any of his precious sweetness. I feared for his teen years that I would lose the little boy who called me his princess. He no longer thinks of me as his princess--that title has gone to a girl who has captured his 14 year old heart. A first crush. But he never fails to tell me he loves me. He still pauses and demands hugs from him Mom. And I love him with every fiber of my being.
Lord V is my rock. The one who keeps me anchored when I feel myself floating in the ocean of grief. He wraps MiniWarrior and I up, shielding us from the harsher edges of life. I cannot imagine my life without him. I cannot imagine how I lived before him. I don't think I did. I was too busy surviving til he found us.
At the end of this month, I am retiring from my job. The notice has been written, the paperwork is in place. LV has given me the precious gift of time. Time to heal. Time to spend with MiniWarrior. Time to work with him while he moves from childhood to Manhood these final 4 years of high school. Time to bask in the quiet peace of our home life and repair the cracks inside of me.
I have lost much. But I have gained more. Eventually the pieces of my life's puzzle will fall into place. I jut have to remember to relax and not force a piece into place.