Technically, I work for my parents.
I work for the company my dad started and my mom now owns. I don't work for them in the traditional boss-employee relationship. A long-time employee considered family member and I work together to keep the ship sailing in the right direction, fighting tides, and weathering storms. The job is casual and wonderful and extraordinarily flexible. No one watches over my shoulder, I can make decisions without worrying about the bureaucracy of office politics, and I get to take my dog to work. I love my job. I love the men I work with. I love the family I work for.
But, love doesn't always soothe the thankless days. It doesn't calm the angry customers on the phone and rude office women and impatient superintendents. It doesn't answer the calls I get complaining about operators'driving and arguing over footage discrepancies and impatient requests for insurance certificates. It can't tell me I'm wrong when, on those days, I think I'm doing worse instead of better.
It is on those days, on those days that I feel a deep, dull ache while I sit in our small office. It's an ache that says: I miss my dad.
I don't miss him in intense ways very often. I guess because we were losing him for so long. But on those days when the world is short in patience and grace I just wish he'd come back and set everyone straight. On those days the "If Dad was here..." train seems to promise a one way ticket to wonderful and yet, I can't find afford the purchase price.
It's these times when I miss him so sincerely that I treasure him most. I grow protective of our memories and want to cry, punch and act like a four-year-old in the tornado of emotions that comes with our loss. It's these days that remind me the pain dulls but never disappears. As I sit in the office and know the the feelings are driven by a deep, dedicated love for his legacy. A legacy that got shit done regardless of how hard, impossible, frustrating, and unsure the end seemed.
So, I pour an afternoon cup of coffee and address the issues, one by one. I focus on the tasks in my To Do List slowly ticking them off in my bullet journal. I call the offending employees and try to be kind and stern. I apologize to the disappointed customers. I stand up for the numbers and charges on the invoice in question. All the while I watch the clock moving ever-slowly to that four o'clock hour.
It is on these days, I drive home near tears. I listen to Cinderella and remember the way he insisted on twirling me at our wedding. I hear him telling me his one and only feeling is hurt and realize mine is too. I wish he'd tell me to hold my knife and fork the right way just one more time. I drive home and I wonder what he'd have thought of our home, of our future kids, of the way we've started tackling this life. I wonder about the way it'd look if he was here. I question where I'd work and what I'd do. And I imagine how hard he'd roll his eyes when he found out I am making money off the art he said was crazy.
I don't cry on these days. At least I don't cry until Jason's home. Then I melt into a puddle of pure missing. I welcome him with puffy eyes and a snotty nose. He's patient and kind and says he's been missing him too. And then he pours two glasses of wine and flips on the Bachelor because nothing cures missing like fake reality TV.