My current employment status can best be defined as “it’s complicated.” My life, my career, my home is currently “TBD.” If you ask me what I do for work my response is “i’m in between jobs right now.” Famous last words. I didn’t plan for this period of unemployment and despite the stress that comes with watching your bank account dwindle without any idea when you’re getting paid again, I’m trying to have some fun with it.
A brilliant friend of mine once told me that he calls unemployed people “day-walkers.” I found this hilarious, as did my mom, who is currently out of work as well. I stopped working on August 18th, hung out in Singapore for a few days, had a week in Charlotte that was spent sleeping, crying, and refusing to pack my house. Then I went to New York to see my family and here I am back in Charlotte.
One good thing about this little unemployment stint is that because my family feels bad for me, I got to skip the usual “you spend too much time in bars” conversation. Rather than questioning my choices when I ordered whiskey drinks at The Cheesecake Factory, my Dad only asked if I wanted another. No one flinched when I ordered the “extra large” beer at the steakhouse, or when they saw me emerge from the garage with sangria in my arms. Thanks for understanding, guys. You’re the best.
So I got to be a day-walker with my mom in Upstate New York. Putting the whole “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life” thing aside, we had a lot of fun. It was really nice to spend that much time with mom, it had been way too long. My mom lives in the middle of nowhere, like, no cell phone service middle of nowhere. It takes a little bit to get anywhere, but there’s cows and trees and dogs and big open roads for running in solitude. And the running is essential, as my mom’s house is FULL of snacks and candy and treats and I have no self control. None. We went through two big bags of candy corn in a week. Fruit is not eaten without whipped cream nor is peanut butter without chocolate. She even has lucky charms. Yes, lucky charms.
My mom and I managed to do a lot of actual walking last week. We hit two malls, three TJ Maxx’s, two Targets and a Marshall’s. We even had enough time for Bed, Bath & Beyond. We watched a million episodes of House Hunters, House Hunters International, and House Hunters “Off The Grid.” I endured a few episodes of Tiny House Hunters, and I can’t quite put into words how much I loathe those people. Cramming yourself and your family into the tiniest house you can find is not cool, it is not trendy, it is just fucking stupid. and you’re stupid for doing it. Why don’t you just buy an RV or a tent and save us all from having to watch you shove your four kids into the “loft” of a 200 square foot shoe box. dumb.
While I was in New York I was fortunate enough to actually make it to my niece’s birthday party. My Dad, Step Mom, Step Grandma, Aunt, Cousin, and Sister all came out to Mom’s for the party. It was wonderful to have everyone in one place, and to actually not miss a birthday. I’ve gotten really good at missing important events and holidays over the years and this one reminded me that I need to be around a little more. This stuff matters, a lot.
My niece was hilarious. She is only two but is bursting with personality. She loved her birthday cake and the neighbor’s cows. When she gets mad she scrunches up her face and says “mad!” and she calls my mom “bot.” Not sure about the “bot” thing, but perhaps we should all take some pointers from her when it comes to communication. Instead of trying to pretend we’re in a good mood when we’re not, or dancing around our frustration with people, perhaps we should just say exactly how we feel, preferably in one word. “Stressed.” “Annoyed.” “Drunk.”
So yeah, being a day-walker with my mom was pretty great. Even though we had more time than we thought we would, a week wasn’t enough. I still cry every time I leave my mom, and this time was just as hard as the last. Whenever I leave her I always spend the next hour or so thinking about why I keep choosing to live far away and feel so stupid for not spending more time with her. I absolutely adore her and we have the best time together. Talking on the phone all the time is great, but it doesn’t quite compare to real time together. There are very few things that I am actually afraid of, but my biggest and perhaps only fear is that something sudden will happen to my parents and I will regret not spending more time with them.
My mom is, hands down, the most selfless person I have ever met. I am constantly reminded of this but I guess my awareness is heightened after spending time with her. My mom has, and continues to move mountains for my happiness. She supports me and trusts me and knows me better than anyone in this world. She would give me the shirt off her back if I told her I liked it better than my own, without a second thought. The coolest thing about my mom though, is that she wouldn’t just do that for me, she’d do it for pretty much anyone. She’s the type of person that will give her last dime to help someone else. She once had a patient, an older man, who didn’t have shoes when he was getting discharged from the hospital. Who do you think went out and got him shoes? She has spent her life taking care of me and everyone else in our family. She has sacrificed more than I will ever know so that I could have the great life that I have. She drove me to skating at 5 am on cold Sunday mornings, stood in freezing rinks for hours and hours and always made sure that, even I didn’t do well, she thought I was the best out there. Her support for me over the years has made my life what it is, and I never would have done half the things that I have if it wasn’t for her confidence in me. And she’s really fun.
Thanks for being a day walker with me, mom. I miss you already.