Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Occupation Worrywart rerun

When I began approaching my birthday this year, I received daily reminders from the Feds and every insurance company in the USA of that fact. I will be sixty five on October 1st or 2nd, depending on which version of my birth certificate you choose to acknowledge. (For the Feds, it’s the first, but for the family, it’s really and truly the 2nd…and that’s the day my namesake grandchild was born! I’m still debating which my tombstone will carry.)

I’ve never had many jobs where you actually gave your social security number and got a paycheck with deductions for FICA and all those other things that we passively allow to reduce our take home pay. Many of my jobs were under the table in one way or another. I taught sewing in my home, made a number of fine crafts for sale, had garage sales, and was the resident real estate expert in the family allowing our net worth to grow every time I decided the time was ripe for a move.

My main job all these years, however, has been to be the family worrywart. The job didn’t pay much, but it put a roof over my head. I have been in charge of making sure there was milk in the fridge, peanut butter and jelly and bread in the pantry, pampers in the nursery, shoes that fit everyone and weren’t in need of polish…yes, we actually polished shoes back in my day...and that my husband and children and I didn't go out in public looking too weird.

I noted who needed their fingernails cut or a new hair style, although some of those in the 80’s were disasters! I'm down to only worrying about those things for the Walkers and myself now, and that's great by me. I sometimes have to do some convincing of Walker the dad when it's time to turn a nice polo into a farm shirt and replace it at the outlet mall, but basically they don't care because I do.

Through the years, I worried about which schools and camps for the kids to go to. When college came, I made sure the applications had all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed and that the girls all had a safety school, a fun school, and a stretch school to choose from. I had the privilege of worrying about how the tuition and mortage were going to get paid, what kind of car we could afford, and who had hamburger meat on sale. I worried about everyone’s health and happiness and probably always will.

Now I sometimes think I want to retire from my position. I’ve earned it and I deserve it. I just don’t quite know how to go about it.

I put more of the choices in somebody else’s court nowdays and let them figure out where to cut corners. If the budget won’t allow for a larger beach house if it’s actually in sight of the beach, whoever cares the most gets to figure it out. I only want a room with a king size bed and not to have to cook much.

My computer does a lot of our reminding now. It tells us which night is garbage night and when the pets need their flea medicine. It keeps up with the the doctor’s appointments and haircuts and social events. If the grandkids have sports and school events, they get covered if I know about them in time. I don’t worry quite as much about no showing things as long as I don't have a crash...yes it does happen, and I'm not at all good about backing up.

I will probably always be the one who notices whether the silver needs polishing or there are enough matching napkins and towels clean for company. I’ll be the one who cares when the upholstery needs to be replaced or the bushes need pruning and whether there’s really enough in the bank account to cover an unexpected expense. It’s my job.

I hope I see doing my job as a privilege for as long as I can do it and that when I really can't anymore I hope I'll cut the ones who do the worrying for me as much slack as they do me.


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