Through a Different Lens

My family was blessed to attend my mother’s retirement party last week. In an earlier post, I marveled at discovering another side of my now deceased father. Last week, thanks to the generosity of her coworkers, I was treated to a similar discovery with my

I remember when my mom first went to work, back in the dark ages when I was in fifth grade. She’d stayed at home with me and my sister, serving as room mom, on the PTA, and as team mom for our various softball teams. I knew who she was back then–she was my mom–begrudging cook, housekeeper, laundress, dutiful wife, and shoulder to cry on. I remember being unhappy that she wouldn’t be home after school, but with little say in the matter, I was forced to adjust and get on with life.

When we paid our first visit to Mom at work, I got the shock of my life. She wasn’t just my mom anymore! She was an employee, a co-worker, and a friend to people I’d never met. Suddenly, the box I’d placed her in seemed bursting at the edges. I had to put her in a new box, this one bigger and not so familiar.

Then we moved to Georgia and Mom got another job. A different job. This time she had a desk and a lot more responsibility. She worked as long and hard as my father. Humm… The box was getting full again, but I was a teenager and didn’t take much notice. Sometimes I did, like when I had to make my own food, but otherwise, she was still Mom.

And so it went, different jobs, different desks, different coworkers. She just kept chugging along, working well past when my dad retired. Working past his death (thank God), and working until a milestone birthday when she finally called it quits. Well, not totally. She’s already arranged a part-time job so she doesn’t go stir crazy in her golden years.

Even though I’m an adult now with kids of my own, I was still surprised to hear the ways my mom has touched others at her retirement party. She stood in the center of all that attention, embarrassed, downplaying her accomplishments, and I sat there once again thinking, Who are you? But that’s the beauty of this thing called life. It changes, people change, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s better than okay. My mom is more than my mom–she’s her own person and she’s changing every day. Maybe someday she’ll retire again and I’ll have the opportunity to discover yet another side of her I never knew existed. Wouldn’t that be grand?

About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on July 28, 2014, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Congratulations to your mom!

  2. Congratulations to your mom on her retirement, Christy! It’s great that she’s taken on a part time job. She will love it b/c it will give her a little more freedom for those extra activities that she never had time for when she was working full time. Plus as we age, we need to keep our minds and bodies active. 🙂

  3. Such a cool tribute to your mom. She sounds like a great lady. I recall my mom always being at home until she took a part-time job outside of the house but I think she must have come home before I returned from school because I don’t recall her ever not being there. I was lucky enough to be able to do the same and didn’t take up writing until 2009. Even then, my teens noticed that I didn’t have as much time for them as I did before.

  4. Janna Qualman

    What a lovely woman! And a lovely tribute, too.

  5. I love that you view your mother’s accomplishments with such pride, and respect the choices she made during your childhood. I hope when my kids look back in the years to come that they will feel similarly. One can only hope. 🙂

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