A few weeks before my wedding, my brother got into a terrible car accident. It truly was an accident, however, one girl died and others were badly injured. My brother was arrested and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to attend my wedding. My mom, sisters and I were so devastated and scared. I was a mess at work and of course I fell apart the second I saw my Mom-Friend (MF).
I was angry. I was SO angry that it hurt. I was so angry at God for doing this to my family. “How much more is my family supposed to take?” I said to MF. I had disclosed to MF many of my family’s hardships and she confided in me many of her family’s hardships as well. Somehow we both had the same gift of laughing in the face of adversity.
“Believe me honey, I know. I ask that question quite often.” MF said genuinely. She gave me hug and I was slobbering all over her shoulder so I started to laugh. MF said “You can use my shirt as a Kleenex, really it’s okay.” I laughed, red faced, with a stuffy nose. MF took a deep breath and said “I am sorry I told you to get some real problems. Jeez, you showed me up.” I laughed again and so did MF.
Thinking about the people injured in this accident and the family of the girl that died made my wedding seem like such a trivial occurrence in this life. Thinking of my brother, terrified in jail and coping with the guilt of the accident weighing on his shoulders made my wedding day seem so stupid in the big scheme of things. I get the lesson God, get off my balls.
Thankfully my brother was released and was able to attend my wedding. I hated to admit it but this tragedy occurring with such a joyous outcome made my wedding so much more meaningful for me. There definitely was a shift in my faith and I was still pissed at God; but this situation caused me to care less about the actual wedding and focus more on enjoying the moment with my family.
However, going back to the office space job after my honeymoon was exceptionally painful; like that kind of nauseous and disgusted pain. I remember I went roller blading in the morning before I had to take the train and part of me was secretly hoping I would get hit by a car so I wouldn’t have to go to work (whisper…red flag.) Google Kristen Wiig’s SNL skit Red Flag.
Clearly I knew I had to starting looking for another job. Eventually, I received a call from my graduate school buddy, Rokstar, about a job she loved at a hospital. I interviewed with an older lady, then a doctor and a seasoned social worker. Later, only to discover my fly was unzipped the entire interview. I got the job anyways.
It was difficult to leave my work gals, but I told them that if I would rather get hit by a car then come to work; then my leaving is definitely for my own safety. (whisper…red flag) We all laughed. Mom-Friend (MF) was happy for me, sad and pissed at me simultaneously. (MF) had already applied at the same hospital as soon as I told her I had an interview.
My first shift was with the doctor I interviewed with and she turned out to be extremely laid back, fun and enjoyable.
“First we will have breakfast, I really do not like to talk until after 8am unless I have to.” The Doctor said confidently. Fine by me. I am not a morning person either. We enjoyed breakfast in silence and then we began “training”. The Doctor’s version of training was talking about pop culture and we had many genre’s in common. The Doctor explained that the only real way to learn this job is shadowing and then just to do it. Again, Fine by me, this job rocks.
MF also got a job in my new department and she began a month after me. One thing I didn’t anticipate was MF turned right back into Mom-Lady (ML); anxious, stressed, bitchy. She wasn’t cool with the laid back training process and began asking the Doctor multiple questions upon her arrival at 7am despite my warning to not talk to the Doctor until after 8am.
“Well you are a chatty one, aren’t ya?” The Doctor said to ML.
ML called me the second she arrived home from her first shift. ML was extremely pissed off about her experience “training”. I wanted to laugh when ML told me what the Doctor had said to her. I reminded myself that this was just ML anxiety talking and once she feels more comfortable, she will become MF again. Day after Day I arrived home happy and grateful as hell. Day after Day I received intense, stressful calls from ML.
Finally, I ended my training period and was thrown into the job. I thrived in the hectic, chaotic environment and I laughed all day long with my co-workers. I was so grateful to my graduate school friend, Rokstar, for calling me about this job. Rokstar was happy with my initiation into this job, however, she struggled with ML as I did. Each shift I worked, I would hear more stories about everyone struggling with ML. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it.
I noticed that in the entire time I have known ML, she has NEVER once complained about her husband, her kids or anything else besides work and the news. MF was so enamored and proud of her family! Her face would completely light up when talking about her daughter and laugh when talking about her son. She spoke so lovingly about her husband. Her husband would make her lunch everyday and drive her to work so she would not have to walk in the cold through the mile-long parking lot.
I was the opposite where I found myself bitching about everything else except work. I seemed to joke around about work and our boss. Fortunately, this is how everyone else was at work and we related to each other; which was maybe why ML was struggling. ML took work extremely seriously. I brought this to ML attention one day we met for lunch; concerned that she was so fixated on the problems at work and I commended her that she never complained about her husband or kids. ML was quiet for a long time and then I saw her chin was trembling and her eyes began to well up with tears.
“I can’t complain about my family because if I did I would start to cry.” MF said with a quivering voice. “My life is my kids. My daughter and I do nice things together and I am so into her plays and activities; but at the same time my heart breaks for her. I want her to soar and not be held back by us. I fear she will be forced to take care of her brother when my husband and I are gone. I do not want that for her. I am not sure if my son will be able to take care of himself. The school seems to be trying to prepare us for his future autonomy. They have been providing us with information on residential facilities if we do not have family that will care for him if anything happens to us. I tell my husband all the time I better go before he does because my heart cannot take that kind of pain. I want my daughter’s dreams to come true.” I was completely crying now.
“I mean, let’s be real. I can’t really complain about the struggle I have with my son’s Autism because I probably sound like an asshole to them. If I show them a picture, he looks fine. He is completely adorable. If one more person tells me that my “Son looks fine” I am going to snap. No one could possibly know what it is like until they walk in my shoes. My problems are different than everyone else. I am ANGRY. I am angry that there is Autism. I am angry at God for doing this to my family. I have already been through so much, how much more do I have to take?” MF said. It was silent for a while, I had no idea what to say. I could not say “I understand” because I don’t. I felt that would sound ignorant because I have no idea what it is like for her. I am not even a mom yet.
“Jeez, get some real problems.” I said to her. I bit my lips trying not to laugh. I could see a smirk emerge on my MF face. Now I totally understood when MF told me to get some real problems when I was complaining about my wedding dress.
Get some real problems is right.