“I’ll meet you in the parking lot after my job,” she said.
“Your what? The where?” I asked.
“The parking lot!” she said. “I will meet you in the parking lot. Don’t come in. Don’t stand by the street waiting for me. In fact, just have the car ready and put it in drive. I’ll meet you in the parking lot at 12:15 … unless, of course, I have a business meeting. Then I might be a little late. So, I’ll text you.”
A business meeting?!? Text me?!? What the heck is going on here?
It was Memorial Presbyterian’s Vacation Bible School. My daughter is 11 years old. She was “working” as a volunteer there. Assisting with science experiments. Walking little kids to the bathroom if they had to go. Handing out cookies.
There were no power lunches and meetings in the boardroom. No water cooler banter and secretaries reaching out to schedule strategy sessions with VPs.
“Are you making money at this gig?” I asked.
“No, dad, of course not!” she said. “Now remember, DON’T COME IN! And I may need to go get business cards later. What are those for, anyway?”
This was the big time for the kid. No longer was she an attendee there — she had graduated to volunteer. And Miss Independent was loving it.
She relished the idea of having to stay late if the group leader called a short planning meeting to discuss the next day. Or that she could cross the street on her own without some annoying parent — me! — “protecting” her from marauding space aliens or whatever dangers lurked around the corner.
But wait a minute: “protector” was MY job. I fulfill important functions, or at least used to. I was a necessary item, told to stick close and keep a keen eye out. Now I was being asked to keep my distance. Was I being downsized? Given the pink slip? All because she wanted to cross the dang road on her own!
Worst part is, she can. I’m not worried something will happen to her. I’m worried she’ll keep on NOT needing me. What a painful realization to come to. That my new job is essentially glorified Uber driver. An on-call personal assistant who is available at any moment and at every text.
“You know, business meetings aren’t all they’re cracked up to be,” I told her as she got in the car. “They’re usually pretty excruciating, and most of the free-world avoids them like the tsetse fly.”
“That’s one way of looking at it,” she said. “Now, do you think you could pick up some bagels and coffee for tomorrow’s meeting? It could be a long one. We may need to develop some strategic objectives and go over financials. I’ll text you when it’s over. Just make sure, whatever you do … DON’T COME IN!”
Also published on Medium.