Friday, August 18, 2006

I’m not ready to wear beige.

My son headed back to college last weekend for what will (hopefully) be his last year. Over the summer, he traveled three different weekends to either see his girlfriend or attend various weddings of friends. After the first weekend jaunt to see the girlfriend, he came home, sat me down and said, “I’m sure.”

I’d like to be able to say I have no idea what he’s sure about, but that would be a lie. He’s sure about his girlfriend. He’s sure that she is the one for him. Sitting here at the age of 50, I remember the feeling of knowing the person sitting next to you on the couch was the one for life. The other thing I know at the age of 50 is how the same person can be sitting on the couch next to you and you question how much judgment you really had at the age of 22.

So my son is sure: Which leaves me looking at having to buy the dreaded beige dress in a few years time. And I am not ready to wear beige or any other color or style of dress which will identify me as the mother of the groom. This feeling has nothing to do with whether I like the girlfriend (I do like her very much) or any questions about my son’s being ready to take a step like this in the next couple of years. It has everything to do with the fact that I am not ready to be a woman of a certain age. I am not ready to be a mother-in-law. I am not ready to have a married child.

But now it will not be up to me to determine when I acquire my latest identity. Over the years I’ve acquired a lot of different labels which defined me. I’ve been a college student, a bride, a working woman, a mom, a working mom, a business owner, and so on. But with all of these identities, it was my decision to undertake a new persona. With these latest personas I am facing, it is not up to me to choose when I will transform into a mother-in-law or a grandmother. It will be at a time of my children’s choosing. And to fight it or complain seems to me to be churlish and selfish. They are my children. If I have done my job right, they will make the right decisions. And part of doing my job right is to free them to make these decisions.

But deep down inside, I am not ready to be anyone but who I am right now.

Friday, August 04, 2006

So this is summer

I am sitting at my desk at work. It is 7 pm on a Friday night and this is just the beginning of a very long weekend.

I work at a private school and I am responsible for all of the publications and print materials. Since my background is in art direction and graphic design, we don’t farm this work out. I do it all in-house. And it’s a good thing for me because I would much rather design an invitation or brochure than write a press release (another part of my job). But right now I feel totally overloaded. I’m currently in the middle of designing the charts for our annual report. By the end of August, I will have produced two invitations, two brochures, part of our phone directory, our 05-06 annual report, 4 PowerPoint presentations of varying lengths, and various other miscellaneous items, such as letterhead, envelopes, and prayer cards. Throw in all the other tasks that no one but me can seem to do, such as scan items for people (I’m the only one in the administrative wing with a scanner), updating things on the website, updating and proofing the email address entries in our listserv and helping out with at least 3 events. Oh, and taking photographs at all of these events and during the first days of school.

Tonight I’m focusing on the annual report, which has been driving me insane. The first full layout is due next Tuesday at noon to my boss. And it’s been an upward struggle. I am trying to make it match the look of the Annual Fund brochure, which was done by an outside agency last year. One would think that going by an already established look would make my job easier. But that’s not the case. The information contained in the brochure is vastly different from the information that is going into this annual report. So, it’s been a struggle. Today I finally got the other projects on my desk to a point where I could concentrate on the annual report and at some point this afternoon I developed a template for the publication that works. Now I just need to layout and format over 40 pages of copy.

In the next week or so, the parents will start to appear at the school again, smiling and asking how my summer was, innocently assuming that since I work at a school, I had a break. They have no idea that I spent more than a few evenings and weekends working at my desk wishing I was with my family and my friends enjoying the summer. But for now, I've got charts to make into elegant bits of artwork.