Thursday, November 11, 2010

About a boy

He stumbles into the kitchen, arms loaded with an assortment of action figures, video games, and a teetering pile of books. I look over from the dinner I'm preparing, startled by the commotion. A shy smile plays across his small face. "We can set up a table outside and sell these to people who walk by," he suggests quietly, hopefully.

I suggest a local upcoming toy swap for the video games; a trip to the used bookstore for a trade on the books. These, I know, will grant him a better return on his items than a yard sale. But, no, he insists. He doesn't want to trade for new toys, new games, new books. He wants to earn money. He wants to earn money to give to me. He wants to help pay the mortgage, buy the groceries. "I am a part of this family. I am a part of this house," he proclaims. "I want to help."

I gaze at him, amazed. My eyes drip tears into the cooking pasta. I can't speak, so I wrap my arms around him and mumble unintelligible love into his ear.

I try to gently talk him out of the yard sale all night, careful not to hurt his feelings with what might appear to be an unappreciative refusal of his offer. I try to guide him into other, more appropriate ways he can help: cutting back on wasted food by eating what's on his plate without complaint, calming my stress levels by picking up after himself, remembering to turn out the lights when he leaves a room.

But The Kid is determined. "This is my mission," he tells me."This is the only way I know how to help. And I'll be bummed if no one buys this stuff, or if I can't make enough money, because I do not want to fail you."

How do I tell him that the pile of possessions he's volunteered to sell represents so much more than the $2 he's likely to earn at a yard sale? How do I tell him that I can't possibly accept his earnest offer? How do I tell him how much the gesture is appreciated? How do I tell him how proud I am of him? How do I tell him how much he warms, and simultaneously breaks, my heart?

As many of you already know, I lost my job yesterday. I work(ed) for a small company; one with little in the way of benefits. I was completing month three of my unpaid maternity leave, scheduled to return to work in early December. The Boss called yesterday and told me not to bother coming back. He's decided that the woman I trained to cover my position in my absence is a better fit for the company, and sees this as "an opportunity for a smooth transition." There are many things I could say about the circumstances surrounding my termination, like how much they suck balls, but I'll save that rant for another post.

Because this post isn't about me. It isn't about my lost job, or my former boss, or my financial worries and woes, or how in god's name I'm going to get by. This post is about the miraculous little boy who lives at the end of my hallway. The one who continually surprises and impresses and humbles me. The one who has given me so much more than I deserve in this life. This post is about him.

13 comments:

Momma Sunshine said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear about your job loss, but you are so very, very wonderfully lucky to have such a special wonderful boy.

**hugs**

ChopperPapa said...

Sorry to hear about the job, as a manager myself, the way due handled that is extremely uncool, very unethical, rather cowardly, and maybe not so legal.

Great kid! Good for him and you.

T said...

Wow. What an amazing child/little man you have raised there!!

Sorry to hear about the job loss but girl... you got this. With that much love in your house, you can make it through ANYTHING.

((hugs))

cassee01 said...

I don't think that is legal

http://www.bluesuitmom.com/career/changingjobs/advice/maternityleaveqa.html

http://www.thehrspecialist.com/article.aspx?articleid=5472

Shannon said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom because, wow...what a touching story about your son. He's an amazing kid!

And that really sucks about your job. I'm sorry to hear that...is it even legal?

http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/LeaveBenefits/FamilyCare/Maternity/default.asp

Sunny said...

Wow. Just wow. This is the most amazing story that I've heard. You have a very special boy.

Sorry about the job. I lost my job on maternity leave as well. Nothing like a little more chaos in your life to spice things up, eh?

Anonymous said...

I work for an employment law firm and the consensus is that it probably isn't legal. You might consider meeting with an attorney...if it's worth it to you.

Kalista said...

Hi Kellee - I think you know some lawyers ;) You might give someone a call and just run the basics by them. Given that your former employer is likely less than 20 employees, the FMLA probably doesn't apply to them - but that doesn't mean they are without obligation to you whatsoever. Still, it couldn't hurt to call ...

And for what it's worth, I'll never steer my company's business in their direction after this.

Richard said...

Kellee, so sorry to hear about the job loss.

Martini Mom said...

I do know a goodly amount of lawyers, and I will be talking to someone about this before I sign the termination agreement. That said, I'm not looking for a fight. It's not my style. I mainly want to make sure that there's nothing in the agreement that shouldn't be, and nothing left out of the agreement that should've been included. In my former employer's defense (though I don't feel much like defending him right now, but that's because I'm still pissed off and panicky and emotional about the whole thing, not because I think there was any malicious wrong-doing), a severance package was offered, though I'm not at liberty to discuss its details.

Thank you all for your words of concern and encouragement. We'll find our way through this one way or the other, and things will be better on the other side.

Nicki said...

When my kids do amazing things like this, I cry, too. I know you're struggling, but somehow things will work out. They always do. And you are so talented that you'll think of something.

I'm rooting for you.

Think of this as an opportunity for a new chapter in your life. Do what you really want to do.

ThisMamaThing said...

I know this post is old, but I'm visiting via last night's #commenthour, and it made me tear up hardcore. Such a sweet kiddo.

Martini Mom said...

@ThisMamaThing: Thanks so much for stopping by. He really is a truly amazing kid. I'm very lucky (though I like to think I deserve at least a tiny bit of credit for his awesomeness).

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