The boy child has a job.
Well, to be precise, my 21-year old son has accepted an offer. The job will begin a few weeks after he graduates in June of 2012. To be sentimental, nostalgic, and even surprised, my chubby toddler grew up and became someone who will show up every week in an office to do tasks and get paid.
I didn’t exactly see this coming.
He’s going to be editing financial, economic, and political news, for a startup. Lowish pay, so he’ll have to live in the time-honored way of all kinds of young people: carefully, with roommates, in Brooklyn or Brooklyn-equivalent. But it’s a Wall Street job. His sister helped him find the listing in the university’s Career Services bulletins. Go sister.
Why didn’t I see it coming? I mean, it’s not wildly improbable for someone to graduate from college and get a job. More difficult, in these days of our post-tragic economy, but it’s not as though he’s going to Kyrgyztan. On second thought, I might have been less surprised by Kyrgyztan.
I didn’t see a job coming because he was my last child. His baby self never got displaced. A part of me so small as to disappear if I turn my head, still expects a little guy with pillowed feet to walk out of his room in the morning and climb onto the sofa. To sit quietly, staring out the window at the tree in our back yard. I didn’t see Wall Street coming because my son wants to be a writer. I’d become accustomed to the idea that his first years out of college might entail some sleeping on floors and waiting on tables.
Here’s what you wonder, when your youngest child takes an adult job. What will his office look like? You imagine his dark-haired head bent over a computer, in a cubicle he has decorated with his childhood super hero poster. Or ironic Pokemun characters. Or nothing.
You wonder, will he be lonely on Sunday afternoon? Will he throw away the plastic on drycleaner hangers or leave it hanging in his closet like filmy ghosts? Will he learn to cook anything with more than two ingredients? Will he sit, on a Friday night, with friends, drinking wine from juice glasses and catching the right person’s eye? You imagine him shaving, and vow to buy him the best electric shaver in the world.
I didn’t really think he’d come home to California, at least not right away. Maybe I hoped a little. I don’t know.
I have a sense that this change will wash over me gradually. Earning a living is a big deal and I didn’t do it as a young woman. The family fortune shone brightly, and I didn’t understand I’d eventually need to work. So I took internships in London, and Manhattan, then traveled through India. As you know.
I was lucky that I figured out how to make a living and have a career, just in time to counsel my kids in their efforts. I’d better get cracking on everything else. We always hope to stay one step ahead in order to understand what they’re going through. To have a hope of looking wise in their eyes.
I cannot end this without saying one more thing. Congratulations, Mr. P.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.