More Motherhood Solidarity
So, as many of you know, my 16yo, Juice, has a job now, at a local movie joint. She's exhausted at the end of any given eight-hour stint, but ecstatic that she has her own money now. Too ecstatic, actually.
It is this joy in her own money that was at the heart of our first argument about her having a job: she wanted to work more hours (and more days) than I would let her: even school days; even late-night hours, when we both knew who would have to get her up the next morning; even during SOL week. The child's stance was that since she had agreed to work, she had absolutely no say in what hours or days she would have to work. My stance was "Bull." There was yelling, by golly, and then, because I (finally) realized that I was wasting my time with that child, I emailed one of the theatre managers. (Sucks to be him: he belongs to my church [as nearly everybody does], and so he has to suffer such slings and arrows.) I told him that the child was trying to graduate from high school, with a particular level of success, and go to college. I pointed out that if she was "forced" to work during the week and during late-night hours, this attempt would fail.
See I knew that the deal was: she wanted to work extra hours and get extra money. She finally admitted it. But unbeknownst to the child, Manager adjusted the child's schedule. With alacrity. Man's got good sense.
Which is more than I can say for my child. Or, maybe, myself. Fast-forward to last night. Expressing the same ecstasy, Juice told us that she was getting a promotion: from Concessions, she was moving to Box Office (yes, where folk sell tickets). And she needed to be at the movie joint for training by 6 pm. Her sister had to be somewhere else by 630, so there was right much rushing and finagling, as is per usual in my household these days. In the midst of said rushing and finagling, I forgot to ask (and Child "forgot" to tell me) exactly when her training would be over that night.
I hung out with the child's sister, at a school band awards ceremony/dinner, for two hours. (I'll spare you the description of the Nerdiness Waves that washed over my soul as my younger daughter --reportedly* one of The Cool Kids-- deserted me and ignored me for nearly the entire function, going off to sit at The Cool Kids' Table. Only the appearance of BF and her husband, with their band-member daughter in tow, kept me from shooting myself. Ah, nostalgia.)
At the end of the ceremony/dinner, I texted Juice, asking, "How much longer?" I've had way too many experiences of exhaustedly going home to wait for her call and getting said call two minutes after I've kicked off my shoes and thrown myself on the family-room couch. My plan was to leave the middle school and scoop up Juice on the way home.
But Juice did not reply. So I went to the movie joint anyway and parked in the lot. "Training," I thought, "could hardly last much longer." Ha (as you have no doubt said to yourself). An hour later, I was fuming. The child couldn't call me and let me know how much longer she'd be? Finally, I threw myself out of the car and aimed me at the box-office window, where I could make out Juice's locks and eyeglasses, glinting in artificial light. She was laughing and joking with her coworkers, but as I marched closer and closer, and she recognized me as the grumpy, control-freak she's been living with for the past sixteen years, the smile froze on her face. She attempted some hubris, but finally had to ask her "trainer" to allow her to talk to her mother.
She couldn't ask her "trainer" to allow her to text her mother back with the salient information, no. But after her mother had come all the way out to . . . . Let me just say, right now, that I'm quite aware of the workingperson's obligations to her superiors. Being employed myself, I know that respect (whether real or pasted on) for TPTB is critical in the working world --if one wishes to remain employed. I realize, also, that Some Kid Attached to a Cell Phone is not really the dream of every employer.
However. You know?
ANYway, the child came out and I gave her what Mama calls "Down the Country." At this point, two friends of mine (a colleague and her husband) emerged from the joint after having seen Iron Man. (Have y'all seen it? It's pretty good if you turn your mind off for a coupla hours.) They walked right up, happy to have run into folk they hadn't seen since the college had (for all intents and purposes) shut down for the summer.
I had to arrange my face, but I managed to hug my colleague and simultaneously warn Juice with my eyes that her "trainer's" promise of "fifteen more minutes" had better be accurate to the second; Juice went back into the Box. My friends, very astute individuals, wanted to know what Juice had done, and I told them. So for the next twenty-five minutes (the "trainer" lied), my friends tried to calm me down. There was talk of murder, mostly from me (okay, entirely from me), but it ended with speculation. Juice needs to fall to her knees and thank the living God that those folk showed up. Just sayin.
Of course, it was only during the ride home that I learned that the "training" was supposed to've lasted for three hours; that Juice would be getting paid, on a weeknight, for coming to the "training" (working, actually, regardless to what Juice protested: I saw her selling tickets); and that my daughter has gotten entirely too excited at the prospect of earning more and more money.
I know: I should be glad the child's got a job, and she likes it and she's glad to work. I should be. But it's the principle of the thang. Some mother out there (and it doesn't have to be a mother, either, right?) is feelin me right now, to wit: One simply does not inconvenience, disrespect, and ignore one's mother (particularly when she is your only means of transportation for the time being) to make extra money --unless, of course, one is paying household bills.
Dear Jesus, my brother, help me not to kill my children.
*These reports are Goobs, in fact.