Two people I love had their first days today. My daughter had her first day of band camp and Martin had his first day meeting with his new sales team in Chicago. First days can be tough. Sometimes it’s because you don’t know where to go or who to see but mostly that wouldn’t matter if you just had someone who you trusted. I am always more at ease when I’m with a friend and I know they have my back.
He called tonight and he was so tired. After a long flight and not sleeping well he had a long day of meetings followed by a steak dinner and bowling with the team. He said he got 5 strikes in a row so I think he did pretty good! But he didn’t really know anyone. He met Bill and Chuck though. He said they made fun of his accent and he let them and just talked less. He said that no matter where you are you can always find the same people. There are the overly confident blow-hards that talk a lot but do little work. The ones who work hard and get little recognition. People are people – no matter what country. I said, “A steak dinner, bowling and talking to a guy named Chuck…how much more American can you get?!” And we laughed.
My daughter was lingering at bed time tonight and when Martin logged on she wandered in hesitantly at first but then smiled when I waved her in and she talked to Martin and I. We laughed and chatted for a good 20 min until I reminded him he did not have a US plan for his iPhone and this Skype call would probably end up costing him a fortune. After we hung up she asked me, “Mom, are you yourself with everybody you know?” and I told her pretty much I was. That is one of the things Martin liked about me right away. I am who I am. I told her that I’ve found in life that it takes more energy pretending to be something you’re not than just being you, so I’m sticking with that. And she kind of nodded her head then said, “Well, all my friends are gone and I was so lonely today and I really miss Jasmine because she was the only one I talked to.”
We proceeded to have a discussion about how in high school friends come and go and some of the people I’m closest to now I was not close to in high school. How I was a part of ASB, Band, Advanced Placement classes, Track and Field, Clubs etc…but I never attached myself to one group. Instead I chose individuals who I could be myself with to be close to. She seemed to get that. She shed a lot of tears and I promised her that first days were always the hardest and things would get better.
Last year, Jasmine was the girl who made my daughter cry after the first day of camp. She was a big girl and a senior and she liked telling my daughter what to do. So tonight I said, “Who’da thought you’d miss Jasmine!” and she nodded and started crying again and said, “I do!” and then we both laughed. You just never know the people who will end up being your friends.
My hope and prayer for both Martin and my daughter, is that they embrace the moment and enjoy the process. Martin has lots and lots that will be new to him. I was thinking today how many subtle differences there will be. It’s not just a new job. WOW. It’s a whole new country and life. I think he is so brave. He left a job where he was a well-known performer, to jump into a pond that is 4 or 5 times the size – all for love. He is crazy. And I admire that craziness. Probably because it reminds me of me. I’ve changed jobs 5 times in the last 15 years. I get bored easily and have had many first days. I’m always nervous and self-conscious, but I also know that they are good for me. Pushing me to stretch and grow.