For the past eight years, I have worked with my mom. She is the librarian. I'm the PE teacher. Since I'm the gym rat, we don't exactly see a lot of one another since we work on opposite sides of the building from one another. I often tell the students when they discover she is my mom, that she is the nicer one. I'm not lying. It is also 100% true. She really is the nicest person I know.
My mom is retiring in June. She is so excited about the new chapter in her life. We all are. It's time. I have been on the receiving end of many conversations with staff members, responding to me about the news and not one person is glad to see her go. Well, they want her to be happy but we all know the building won't be the same without her.
The other day, someone asked me what I will miss the most about her being gone. Today, in a single instant, I knew what it would be.
In a single glance, the woman knows EXACTLY what I am thinking. I'd like to say it I can tell her thoughts but I suspect she is better at it...she is the mom. I can pass her in the hallway, make eye contact, say hello, and she knows what type of day I am having. I can walk into the staff lounge, sit down, look at her, and she immediately knows what's going on. I can have a meeting with a parent, a student, a co-worker and visit her immediately afterward. From the first step in the door, she knows. The good, the bad, the ugly.
We learned very early on that we cannot sit together at staff meetings. We end up gossiping, making fun of those we dislike, or we burst into laughter over something that amuses only us. We've learned the boundaries of family versus work. We've learned to be co-workers and family members. Yet, Dad and Eric still end up telling us to stop the "shop talk". And we still won't be Facebook friends. Maybe after retirement.
Back to today's glance. Assembly days are not easy for me because it puts the loss of the ASB job in my face. I sat with my friends. Mom sat with her friends. And, along with 1200 kids, we experienced one of the most epic disasters of assemblies that could possibly exist. I thought I had seen some bad stuff but today's takes the cake.
And at the end, we passed one another on the bleachers. In one glance, she knew what was in my heart. The pain. The anger. The disappointment.
That is what I will miss the most when she retires. Having one person at work who knows me. In a glance.
After all, who knows you better than your mom?