Hearing these words caused me to question if the man I was falling in love with was sane - at all. Offended, I began reeling: "Well, I have bills to pay. I love my job. My job is my life. How important do you think work is?" I asked him in return. "Let me rephrase," he hustled.
"I don't know how about you. But when I was not working, Tara and I wanted to be together." He continued. "I'm confused." I said. He sighed and leaned forward across the two-top table in the middle of our lunch date. I stared at him with a huge smile. (People often smile when they are wicked uncomfortable.)"You need to decide how important it is to you to be working." Again, offended and reeling,"I have never in my life imagined I wouldn't be working." I shared with him incredulously. I was raised by two, full time, work your tale off parents. In my eyes, this is what you do. This is all I knew.
"If you want to keep working, you should absolutely keep working!" Matt said sincerely. "But your work gets in the way of my fun." He was totally serious. I was totally flabbergasted. Especially because that was the first selfish thing he'd ever said to me. And yet, he meant it in a totally romantic way (and admitted his selfish motives.) To this day he swears it has nothing to do with caring for our home, cooking or manning children.
Matt went on to explain I don't have to work if I don't want to. My skepticism remained. I love my job. I'm good at my job. Does he know that work ethic is the sole most expected and respected quality in a human in my family? Also, it's been four months, bonehead! (That's a nickname of his - an old email address and everything.) Do I look stupid to you? We are not even engaged. If my girlfriends told me this story I'd seriously question their agenda and decision making skills. I'd absolutely tell them they were being foolish. Foolish would be putting it kindly.
Well eat your words, Molly, because the more we discussed it, the more I trusted Matt. And sadly, the more my work focus faded - which I am NOT proud of. I was being drawn to Matt, Jack, Ray, Tom and Sam. When I was on deadline all I could think about was that the kids would be home from school at 3:24 pm and last night when I tucked Jack in he asked if he'd get to see me in the morning. I'd deflect and say I had to be at work early but maybe on a special occasion soon we could all have breakfast together. This question quickly turned into a nightly ritual, for all the kiddos.
After five dates or so, our romantic gatherings meant sitting on barstools at the kitchen island chatting after the littles were in bed. I had gotten into a habit of staying up all night conversing with Matt and driving home at five in the morning to shower, get dressed for work and face the day. So, the kids were used to getting goodnight hugs, but not good morning greetings. Matt and I were adamant about setting a positive example when it came to two adult spending time together.
I don't remember ever being tired. I just remember feeling like I should be elsewhere. Like I was being called to be elsewhere. Admitting that was uncomfortable and felt a little foreign. Fighting it got more and more difficult. For about two months I probed Matt. There were so many unanswered questions and his answers could make or break my faith in our future. After many sleepless nights and lots of prayer, I decided I was going to ask work if I could go part-time - and if that was not an option I was prepared to leave.
I dreaded telling my boss. Greg is a wonderful manager and he had invested time mentoring me. There was turnover on our team but I was a consistent piece of the group. I prayed some sort of part time deal would work out. There was an ongoing joke in our department:"The only way Molly leaves is if she moves to Colorado." I didn't want to disappoint my boss. I knew leaving would make more work for my team and put stress on them. I hoped he'd understand, because he is a family man. Why a 27 year-old leaves her job to spend more time with a man she's not engaged to though - that's hard to wrap your head around. The day I put in my notice I wanted to apologize profusely. No words seemed to accurately explain the difficulty of my decision. I was desperate for my boss and coworkers to know that I didn't see this coming and I never thought I'd be leaving. I was hurt when a part time opportunity wasn't explored, but I had to shake it off quickly. It's just business.
It'll be two years in August since leaving the Enterprise Holdings Brand Publicity team. I miss it. I'm sad. But I can miss it and be sad and know I made the right decision. My answer is still the same. Work is extremely important to me. Life just threw more important stuff at me I didn't see coming.