Saturday, June 19, 2010

D Day Minus 207 (August 13, 2009)

“How was it?” I asked when you stepped into our air conditioned foyer, a refuge from Northern Virginia’s heat and humidity.  You wore khaki pants and the brown and green striped shirt you saved for special occasions.  And the biggest smile plastered across your face.  Even your hair was happy – and still there – with no sign of falling out.  “What was wrong with this picture?”  I thought to myself. Absolutely nothing!  It was magical, so I snapped a mental picture and filed it under ‘hope.’

“Today was awesome.” You said walking toward the kitchen -- making a beeline to the fridge.  “Everyone was really nice and we even got lunch.  I met Jeremy who is another Team Lead and Andrea who works in HR.  Both of them are from New York.  Wegmans moved them down here.” You poured some juice, paused long enough to gulp down a half a glass.

 “My Store is going to be bigger than the Dulles Store.”  You said, putting the glass to your lips.

“My Store.” I teased. 

“Yeah, its my store.” You meant it and I loved that you did.  “It opens November 8th.  The layout is reversed from Dulles.  You know how the bakery is more to the right in Dulles.  Well it is more to the left in Leesburg.”  You drew the layout and explained it in excruciating detail for the next five minutes or so.  You lost me after the bakery layout, but it was so much fun to see you so excited, I just smiled and nodded. 

“Mom, are you getting this?”  You asked. “I can tell that you’re not getting it. Just say so.”

“I do love you.” I said and you just laughed.

“What about benefits?” I asked. 

“Yeah benefits should start the end of the month, sooner than I thought.”

“Wow.” I said. “You are magical. Do you think it is from the plan you put together for Think and Grow Rich? ”  I loved your strategy not to give up. You had  a plan and went with it even when I had doubts --- you knew it would happen.  You  allowed things to line up for you.  And they did.  You wanted a second chance to prove to yourself that you could be a good manager and an inspirational leader. And you got it.  The chorus to Tom Petty's, Into the Great White Open, got stuck in my head, as I thought about you reaching for the great white open. 

 Into the great wide open,
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open,
A rebel without a clu

You shrugged your shoulders  and said “I dunno.” Then I did bowed down to you like a student to his sensei until you started to laugh.  By the time you laughed, the song got unstuck. 

“Are they ok with you taking time off for your next round of chemo and going to Houston for scans on September?” I knew you said Julie, your manager said it was fine, but I was always a little scared something may go wrong.  I may not be 007 with a license to kill, but I am your mom, with a license to worry.

“I’m in training now, so there is some flexibility.  I start training at Dulles tomorrow at 8.  I need to learn all the sections in bread so I’ll know everything about my bakery and be a better manager. “  You stared past me through to the back patio for a minute or so. "I want my team to know what to do without out me.  So they can make decisions.  You know Mom, teach them to fish.” You said.

“Just in case….” I trailed off. “The treatment doesn’t work.”

“No.” You said.  “I’m going to be fine.  I want my team to be.” You struggled for the word.

“Empowered.” I said.

“Yeah. Empowered.”

“You’ve got it all figured out.” I said smiling  “Are you going to be the next Danny Wegman?”

“Maybe.”  You looked up, thought about it for a minute then blurted. “Yes, yes I am.”  

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