Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bird Dogging from the Pool Balcony (written May 22)

I brought the laptop to swimming because it’s going to be a long day. I downloaded two jobs that I will probably do offline during Nic’s meet today, and I’ll upload this at day’s end. Because there is a lot behind me and a lot more ahead of me.

So today. It’s 36 years since I landed with my mom, dad, brother and two sisters (my youngest was with my aunt and uncle) in Florida for ‘the last hurrah.’ Dad was terminally ill, but I didn’t know it. We then went to Sea World, where he bought me a small stuffed seal (whose fate is now unknown to me—given subsequent events, the poor thing is more than likely moldering in a dumpster somewhere). We swam in the hotel pool, and my dad let me ride on his back, as if he were a dolphin. He only did it once, but I will always remember that moment of joy—and later recollect what that must have cost him.

In the present moment, both of my boys are in the pool. Both are a little bitter about the fact that one will go to tee-ball, a cookout and soccer and the other will go to a swim meet and a get-together with friends. Scheduling is such that it’s just not possible for them both to do everything. We are on the verge on many things; my anxiety is amped up because I feel like I am at the top of the mountain on a foam sled, getting ready to slide down, but it’s looking high, steep, and dangerous.

Yet I put on my goggles, secure my valuables, and push off.

My kids are both on the verge of big things, and so am I. Dad worries me somewhat because he is just not making smart choices. He hasn’t yet figured out the ramifications of his actions in the bigger world, and I fear he will be schooled fearsomely for it.

Of course I know he will deserve it, because I *did* warn him.

It’s hard enough to teach the kids consequences when one of the parents haven’t figured it out yet. But we have been at a variance before, and he always invariably catches up.

But in the immortal words of The Man With No Name, “God is NOT on our side, because he hates idiots, also.”

I don’t agree. God is always on your side, but there’s that whole free will, consequences, and circumstances triumvirate that guarantees that you WILL learn from your mistakes.

Or not.

So I have committed to this new gig, much to my own surprise. I like it, and I like the people, and it feels like the right situation. And I feel too damn lucky for words and so am grateful. I am adding to my community, and it feels good, and I can already see that I am doing good.

My Sherpa (who is now departed) yesterday told me as we walked to our company cookout, “You seem to fit right in. You would never know you were out of corporate for ten years.”

The funny thing is that I was thinking that very thing as I drove in yesterday morning. And I answered, “You know, I have been doing what I do now for free for years. Now I’m getting paid for it. That’s about the only difference.”

It’s true. I am taking everything I learned about leading teams Nic and G for the last decade and just applying those lessons to the workplace. And MAN. I have actually LEARNED how to play in the sandbox as a result.

I was telling another colleague about my experience as a working mom at home, raising my kids, managing their cases, while meeting my deadlines and managing my home and relationships, and he was polite enough to try to cover over his surprise at my parenting/village elder philosophy.

Every one there seems to think I am much younger than I actually am. And I am okay with that. I figured that one day I would be able to make my youthful genes work to my advantage. The other piece is that the boys really do keep me young. I love their wonder at everything. It’s infectious. And I love how they still want to share their discoveries with me.

Life is good. Extremely good.

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