Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I, Bodyguard

I ran into several of my former co-workers at a wedding this weekend which is similar to going to a high school reunion. I worried about what I would wear, whether I looked fat and if I was perceived as being successful. Many of them asked the same question: "So, what are you doing now?" For some reason, this is always a loaded question for me. Perhaps because I'm always trying to come up with a really fascinating answer that doesn't prompt any follow-up questions. At first I said: "I'm a stay-at-home mom." Then, I told several people: "I'm retired," which elicited looks of jealousy, anger or delight, depending on whether these were people I actually got along with when we worked together. Finally, at a loss for an answer, I told one person: "I'm a professional children's chauffer." He nodded in complete understanding, having one of those at home caring for his brood.

So this got me thinking about what it is that we do, here on the homefront. Driving is a huge part of it, but it's also looking out for our darlings, running interference, anticipating trouble and heading it off at the pass. When unseemly people call or come over, I give them the third degree and watch them like a hawk.

Suddenly, as I lay in bed, falling asleep to Access Hollywood, I figured it out: I'm a bodyguard! I won't even go near the discussion of my size, although it is somewhat helpful in this line of work. I drive my "clients" to and from various events. I get there early and make sure they get in and out of activities without a problem. In crowds, I make sure that they're at least within my sight, if not in my grasp. I tell late callers that my clients can't take their call because they're previously engaged. I'm both hated and loved by my clients and those who want to get near them.

Of course, I take it one step farther in that I'm also personal assistant ("Mom, where's my backpack?"), personal chef/nutritionist ("Mom, what's for dinner?") and agent ("Mom, have you found out about play tryouts?") Some days, it feels like I go everywhere with my clients and that it's all about THEM.

And here's the thing, much like a secret service agent, I'd take a bullet for these guys, I truly would. It's amazing that someone so young, demanding and downright rude, can bring out feelings of love, compassion and understanding. You see, unlike a bodyguard, I do get the opportunity, no the responsibility of forging a relationship with these young people. And then one day, I let them go and try to pretend it's not tearing me up inside.

Like the man says: Nice work if you can get it.


At 10:29 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Hi Karen. Dropped into your archives from Michele's tonight. I'm still in quiet-blogger mode because work has been so insane this week.

I always find it amusing how people put so much weight on what we DO (emphasis deliberate.) They judge us based on our response, and then rate us against their arbitrary standards of success or failure.

Ironically, the most "successful" ones are typically those least likely to speak of the achievements of their children, or the importance of family. In my experience, the ones who have looked down on me are the ones who are now all divorced and miserable.

Coincidence? I think not.


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