Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh My Darlin'

I never bought them for years, but not so long ago my mom and I shared a clementine orange, and I realized what a great little snack these are. Mom eats the whole thing, peel and all; sometimes I do, sometimes I don't; but either way, this is a very MOM thing in my mind.

She used to always put one in the toe of our Christmas stockings. The present-frenzy of Christmas mornings always ended with a few in-the-shell nuts and a clementine, and so now when I begin to peel one, the scent takes me not to sunny summer thoughts, but to the holidays. The tradition began when *she* was a child, and getting an orange was a special holiday treat. Of course, when I was a kid, I half rolled my eyes but more just didn't care at all, about the old tales of family dorkiness born out of the backwash of The Depression.

This morning, The Friendly Neighborhood Coworker came by and offered me one. I had three on my desk and had just offered one to another teammate, who's been having a hard week. And she already had one (possibly courtesy of Friendly). Friendly and I agreed: that is Christmas.

They're also just yummy, a perfect serving size (with or without peel), pretty to have around, and the smell when you peel a clementine is wonderful.

This season, I've been feeling the holiday thing a bit - not necessarily possible every year, and not always a stress-free emotional state. Two years ago on the Friday before Thanskgiving, I was interviewing for my now-job. I remember sitting in the lobby beside the fire (we have a big 360-degree fireplace in our lobby), sweating because it was not cold yet, in my interview suit, talking with the HR executive I had known in a previous life. While I was sitting there, the coordinator who'd been working with my executives was calling my home to make the offer. I had not even left the building after my interviews.
I had two business days to make the decision, and had to beg for that much. They'd wanted to hear by Monday. The speed of the process concerned me; I was used to employers taking weeks, even a month or more, to get to decisions, never mind actual onboarding.

I announced to my friend Zuba, and my mom and stepfather, that I was leaving my old job AT Thanksgiving dinner.

Our family is not given to that kind of dramatics, but the timing was all to perfect. And I wanted it to be a reason *for* Thanksgiving.

Was it ever.

I hated to leave my last job. There are still things going on with my friends from that employer that break my heart, precisely because they have proven I did the right thing for myself. I was proud, working there, being a public servant, and I loved my team. I still do.

But I have been blessed again, and the work I do here is the best suited to me I have ever had, I think. Or maybe I am best suited to my job, after all these years. It helps that to some degree I have been able to create this job hand in glove with my executives; they had not had an admin before, so I have been able to "train" them, and use my career maturity to all our advantages.

There have been some pieces of good news and bad news from that world, of late. The woman I turned to for advice when I got this offer: is about to be a grandmother for the first time. Someone I loved working with is coming away from a long period of poor health. Someone else has had bad news. And in my world right now, there are those suffering because loved ones are in distress.

Like the holidays themselves, the days right now are light and darkness.

Last night, I stood in my boss's office, before the sun had entirely set, looking roughly eastward so the sun was not in sight ... but its light was, for the first time in days. The sky, thickly overcast all day long, had begun to clear just over my head, and out in front of me rose a thick, white cumulonimbus, painted golden by light I could not otherwise discern. Below the mound of cloud, it was still wet and grey, and to see the edge of blue sky above I had to lean over and look up.

Today, it is wet and clear and golden and bright. Cooling, at last (yesterday's rain was 70 degrees, dankly misty, and muggy and too-warm). It is Friday, and pay day, and next week I'll work three days. And there will be time for work and time for rest.

And, hopefully - reason for thanksgiving.


Jeff said...

Wishing you more light that darkness in a season inclined to the latter. Happy Thanksgiving, O chronicler of Clovis...

DLM said...

Jeff, thank you - and all the best to you and yours as well, for Thanksgiving and beyond.