My friend was managing a restaurant in Southampton, and gave me a job. I had no experience. Just a tremendous amount of retail management, which I assumed would translate seamlessly into being a great waitress. One of my first brunches, as I took a tables order, the man at the table behind me pulled on my apron string, and said, "Doll...get us the maple syrup". When I didn't respond quick enough for him, he did it again...this time..harder, and dropped the "Doll".
I knew at that moment, I wasn't cut out for waiting tables, and so did my friend, the manager. I was quickly put upstairs, into an office, where I sat over piles of bills from liquor distributors, and stared at Excel spreadsheets, until my eyes blurred.
My stint in the restaurant world was short lived, as I was quickly recruited to manage another high end store, and did so for a few more years to come, until I married, and had my first baby. I literally worked up until my first labor pains, and looking back, I could really kick myself in the shin. Why the heck didn't I take a week or two off before delivering? Did I not know I would never have a peaceful moment to myself EVER again??
So, fast forward a decade. My late twenties are a distant memory. Here I am at 41 (gulp) three kids later, and struggling, like lots of us are. My husband and I both work hard, and yet have nothing to show for it. When my friend suggested waiting tables, the man tugging on my apron string quickly flashed in my mind. Could I? Would I be able to? Would people laugh at me? I was never insecure in my twenties. But here I am, a whole lot smarter, yet feeling not so adequate.
I read something a few years back. It was an essay and I wish I could recall the author, but it was suggestions for a good life. One of them was to learn how to waitress. You will always work, it said, wherever you go. So I put my fears aside, and have given it a try.
And you know, I learned something about myself. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Here I am, working with all these perky twenty somethings, and trying not to screw up too badly, which, trust me, I have...that computer system...ugh!...but I actually look forward to the nights I work at the Glen Brook Golf Club.
I like talking to people, other than my kids. I like when it is busy, and I leave tired, and so very ready for bed, but knowing I have money in my pocket. I like not panicking when Charlotte lost a tooth last week, and I actually had singles for the tooth fairy. I liked saying yes to signing up my girl for softball, because the fee was a little more in reach this year, than it was last year. I like bills being paid, and not being afraid we will go without, because I have a couple of extra bucks to cover gas, and groceries.
Sometimes, life takes some funny turns. It doesn't always go as you had planned, but that can be a good thing, and really keeps things interesting. Sometimes, you have to shake it up a bit.
Just don't tug on my apron strings.