My Little Girl Got A Real Job

“Sweetie, I just wanted you to wake up and know how proud I am of you. You took a big step, a big risk, and it paid off with a new adventure! You are so awesome!” read the text that I sent my little girl last week. We live in different states, different time zones now, and as any parent-of-teenagers know, the way to their attention is through a text, not a phone call.

I was just so proud I could burst, so texting seemed like my only release valve.

“Thanks, Mom,” she eventually replied. Not exactly the enthusiasm I was hoping for, but at least, I got some contact across the miles.

This text was during the aftermath of some particularly crappy, devastating weeks in our ski community, and having my little girl so far away was leaving me feeling raw and vulnerable. I wanted her close enough to hug. I wanted to hold her hand and look into her eyes and know that she was going to be OK. Her news that her college advisor had recommended her for her first ‘real’ paid internship was a bright light in the darkness – and it left my little girl feeling worried about her first job interview.

Do you remember that queasy feeling before you stepped into the adult world? Do you remember your heart pounding, wondering what will you say, and will you have the right answers? Did your hands start to tremble when you walked in the door, wondering if they’ll try to stump you or quiz you or just stare blindly until you want to scream for mercy and run out of the room?

Clearly, I’ve had some nerve-wracking interviews in my time…

But I knew this job was perfect for her – working at the Alumni House of her college, doing print and graphics and creating and managing events. Yes, she’s just starting her Communications major and yes, she is on the edge of a huge learning curve, but she met all the requirements (knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop) and has a smile that can make people forget their worries – I told her to go for it.

She listened to her mama.

When she was close enough to hug.
When she was close enough to hug.

All the memories of my nineteen-year-old self came flooding back – that time in March 1985 when life was shifting and I needed to find a job for my green-haired alternative self, and I walked into a cafe and convinced them I could make a cappuccino…and somehow, rose to the spot of manager. That job, back when I was 19 and so unsure of my future, made all the difference to my future; not because I ended up running a cafe, but because when I knew someone believed in me, I believed in myself.

Of course, as her mom, I was convinced that she was perfect for the job. I just needed to convince HER that she was perfect.

Enter the marathon texting conversations, mix in a few ‘live’ calls, and next thing I knew, she was done with her interview (I told her NOT to wear jeans – is that old school of me?) and to let them know she was bilingual (thank you, Spanish Immersion) and to smile, be friendly, and above all, be honest.

Basically, show her  she just needed to let her awesomeness shine.

After a stressful weekend creating their ‘test’ assignment, convincing her that she knew what she was going, sending a ‘thank you for interviewing me’ email (people still do that, right?), she crossed her fingers….and got the job! Starting immediately – year round.

Wait – what?

So this is what happens when your college kid suddenly finds herself in real life, with a real job, living 650 miles away from home.

My little girl got a real job. She’s creating an adult life, and even though I’m not right there, close enough to hug, I can text and emoji with the best of them.

But most of all, I can stand back and watch, smile, and see my pride ooze out of every pore of my being.

It’s not easy having your little girl move away from home, but sometimes it feels like she’s going to be just fine on her own.

Congratulations, baby Wolfe. Once again, you make your mama proud.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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