Taking the L

I have to admit, I much prefer teenagers over babies and young children. Little kids need you, for sure, and it’s easy to be infatuated with their general adorableness and forgive their snotty noses and fits. But teenagers, I adore. I love the stumbling into relative independence, the breakouts and break-ups, their experimentation with rebellions of all sizes (perhaps this is because I so relate!). My 14-year-old daughter is always playing with her suburban self-expression, the more African-American the better. She’s looking for real cool. I get it. One of my fav movies is Straight Outta Compton.

I find many of her turns-of-phrase quite enchanting. Without her, I would never know what it means to “take the L.” Grown-ups, we need this phrase: taking the loss.

I was near despair when I tried to re-write my resume (I am looking daily for suitable writing work). Honestly, my absolute priority was to be with my kids as much as possible when they were young. I have done that, teaching college English classes part-time on and off, as seemed right at the time. Now that my oldest is almost 18, when I look at my work experience on paper, it’s not only insubstantial but flat-out boring.

I’ve hired a savvy career coach to help me on my way. He’s good, and I feel more confident. But I have to take the L here.

With every commitment comes a sacrifice, yes? While I insisted on being the only one changing my kids’ diapers and being home when they left for and came home from school, I lost. Years of building my resume, years of new and different, years of promotions or new roles, gone. Interestingly, the career coach said to me just recently, “Wow, I wish you’d come to see me 3 years ago. You’d be well on your way.”

Dude. 3 years ago I was 2 years out of divorce, my ex-husband and I had a terribly tense relationship, my son was in crisis, I was in yoga teacher training and dating men who I’ve now forgotten.

I feel my loss. It hurts. Yes, I have a scanty resume. I’m going to have to work hard to get what I want now. I am far behind in many respects. I still write with a pen in a notebook. Now that my resume has been reworked, I don’t even recognize half of what it is I am claiming to know. I just don’t get the language. It’s absolutely and completely humbling.

Can I just take a minute and recognize the W?

My children are my friends.

Several nights of the weeks they are here with me, all of them are in my bedroom at the end of the night. The hound dog is there in the middle of it all. My bedroom is the smallest in the house, so it feels like being at a crowded party. They’re all talking, trying to be the one getting my attention. #14 is always the loudest, and if she’s not being heard, she’ll play her jams (Drake, Kanye) and dance til she gets heard. #12 is lovey-dovey; she still wants to be tucked in. #17 wants the others to leave (the dog can stay), so he can tell me about his creative writing prompt that morning.

If I take the L, which I SO am, I gotta own the W, the party for 5, 3 nights a week.

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