If job titles were handed out in families, I would immediately claim mine as Operations Manager. G and I work very much as a team but when it comes to the day to day machinations of Chez Shamozal, all requests and schedules land on my desk.
I knew travelling home for this operation would require a temporary leave of absence. I had to pass on the
power decision making process to G if this was going to work. Thankfully, great friends jumped in to help with the distribution of little travelers, but all other components of the role are now in G’s hands.
My position is now remote, I no longer work from home. I phone it in.
I join the children for breakfast at 2 in the afternoon each day. I don’t wake anyone up, help anyone get dressed, or brush anyone’s hair. I am a thousand miles away from being practical, a time zone too late.
My appearances are now made on the screen of an ipad or laptop, kisses are blown, waves are made, funny faces are pulled. And in a G rated game of “Spin the Mummy”, the little travelers place me in the middle of the table, and spin me from face to face.
“Hi Mummy” says the fourth little traveller.
“Do you want to know what I chose for hot lunch yesterday?”
As he reels off the names of various fruits and vegetables, I will myself not to ask why he’s having hot lunch at the beginning of the week. Hot lunch is on Thursday, but management has obviously made some changes. The fourth little traveller is very happy with the way things are panning out.
“AND, we’re having hot lunch again today!” he squeals.
The second little traveller who is not a lover of change and enjoys the rules that come with life, raises an eyebrow and brings the laptop closer to her mouth so she can whisper “Dad didn’t do the grocery shopping on the weekend”.
I know where this could lead. I immediately show my support, anything less has the possibility to evoke dissidence amongst the ranks.
“I can see why, Daddy didn’t have a spare minute darling, you guys were busy all weekend.”
She thinks about it for a moment, agrees and then decides to share other frivolities.
“We’re going to watch a movie after dinner tonight – on a school night”.
“You’re so lucky!” I wince a little at the idea of everyone on the couch, without me.
As the conversation moves on to Tin Tin, I watch them going about their day. I ask if teeth have been brushed and remind people about study club and soccer. I sit with what seems to be endless amounts of time in front of me, while they check clocks and talk about minutes until they need to be in the car. I listen to G in the background in his new role, reminding everyone of what needs to happen. He could not sound any more attractive to me as he enquires about drink bottles and information nights. Mummy porn.
I’m on a leave of absence, but my benefits have remained intact. I’m still on the payroll, my life insurance and super are safe, my colleagues miss me and can’t wait to have me back at the office. My position is safe.
Sometimes it takes a leave of absence to remind you how much you enjoy your job.