An Emotional Day

Saturday, May 01, 2010 11 Comments A+ a-

It was an emotional day, far more emotional than I’d prepared myself for. As I was looking through the various cards at Walmart, looking for just the perfect card for the department as a whole and for individual coworkers, I felt the tears pricking my eyes. The day hadn’t even started yet, and I was already crying in a Walmart aisle. I smiled to myself and through the tears, picked cards that weren’t perfect but would have to do.

I thought a lot about my first day yesterday, a young girl at 19 years old, dressed up in a dress suit I’d purchased during one of my retail jobs. It was probably a smidge too short for a professional work environment, but it was the closest thing I had anything representative of an office assistant. I’d been picked by a local temp agency to head to our local government HR’s office and assist their office with whatever duties they wanted to give me.

I was shaking in my black high heels and too-short skirt, took a deep breath, and opened the door. The lady behind the front desk was old enough to be my grandmother and I knew instantly what her first impression of me was, “A baby, wet behind the ears. They sent me someone to babysit.” All of which she later confirmed that yes, those were her first impressions. But I was determined to see it through, to prove that I was capable of what I’d been sent to do. That was in August of 1999.

I never imagined that I’d stay 10+ years, moving from position to position, from Secretary to Department Specialist to Senior Department Specialist, back to Department Specialist again. They gave me opportunities to grow and learn, to try out new programs and master skills I already possessed. They had faith in my abilities when I did not, and gave encouragement and support when I felt overwhelmed or in over my head. I was put on committees and projects, many things unheard of for a women in her twenties with no college degree. Yet they had no doubt that I was capable of things outside of my comfort zone. They sent me to trainings and also had me play the role of trainer.

I started that job as a young, wet-behind-the-ears, barely-out-of-highschool girl and they saw me transition from living at my parents house to moving in with girlfriends. They were there to celebrate my engagement to Jon and came to our wedding. They commiserated with me during the trials of newlywed life, and laughed during my stories of apartment life. They called me crazy when we added our first baby, our dog Jackson and certifiable when we added a second dog. I met one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known, and wonder how I got so lucky in one of my closest friends, Mandy. They cheered when I announced my first pregnancy, and my second, and my third. They smiled and offered support when I announced my fourth. They have been flexible and understanding during every maternity leave, every time I’ve called in because of another sick child. They were willing to work with me as I moved from full-time to part-time back to full-time, even allowing me to take a voluntary demotion to make part-time work again.

I was there for staff changes, for director changes. I was there for our move from downtown to the middle of nowhere. I was there for department restructures and tough times. We struggled through deaths of coworkers, and cancers and surgeries and deaths of loved ones. We complained about each other and dealt with different working styles and opposite personalites. And even though we have as much dysfunction as a normal family, underneath it all, each one is a good person and I’m going to miss each and every one.

Yes, it was hard yesterday. From the ones that I was closet to, from the random people in other departments who stopped to say that I’ll be missed, each goodbye was hard and bittersweet. I truly didn’t expect to spend my whole last day in tears. And to add to my emotional state? I was given a “going away” present that took my breath away, it was completely unexpected.

Isn’t it beautiful? This was beyond anything I’d ever imagined but once again, it just goes to show the giving nature of my coworkers and how well they truly know me.

It was hard, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I know that as hard as it was, it was a step that needed to be taken. I will not forget how many women have come up to me in the last few weeks to tell me that mine is a decision I will not regret, that they wish they could have done things over and decided to stay home with their children when they were young.

And so, I close the door on one chapter, just to begin another. One I know I will never regret beginning…


I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

11 comments

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Courtney
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10:35 AM delete

This post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you Jenn.

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Marianne
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11:22 AM delete

So I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes:) I am so proud of the courage and strength you have shown in following through with this decision, you are truly an amazing, beautiful woman my dear friend:) Love you!!

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Timmarie
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11:47 AM delete

beautiful!

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Katie
AUTHOR
2:10 PM delete

Beautiful Jenn! You won't regret it! It is a huge sacrafice you are making, and the biggest blessing you could have. Enjoy!

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4:43 PM delete

Cheering you on over here in Utah... through all of it, and on to the next...

Congratulations, friend! xo

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Kelly Denise
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4:45 PM delete

I have to admitt too, I have tears in my eyes too

You are amazing person that I have "known" =)

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jo
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12:08 PM delete

Jenn: this is such an amazing time for you. You have to know in your heart it was not a quick or easy decision. You thought it through and went for it! Enjoy your time. You are one lucky gal! Joann

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Wendy
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12:32 PM delete

So exciting, Jenn! On to new exciting adventures!

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Christine
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9:59 PM delete

Maybe it's because this feeling is all too familiar to me, having just gone through this 7 months ago, but this post brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing how bitter-sweet that last day is huh? When your days at home are long and tiring, just remind yourself that you can't get these years back, and the kids grow way too fast. I'm so happy for you Jenn!

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Anonymous
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4:27 AM delete

Jenn,
Reading your blog reminded me of how much you have been through while working there--from a 19 year old high school graduate to a mom with three kids and another on the way. A lot has happened with you there. What a blessing that job has been and what a blessing they have been in working with you through the years. Your gift from them was so sweet and says a lot of how they feel about you. May God bless this new stage of your life at home with your babies....=)
Love you, Mom

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8:08 AM delete

I just happened to find your blog from reading http://joysofhome.blogspot.com/. I always said that if I have children that I will quit my job. Well, here I am 30 years old and still have no children because I've been worried about not being able to afford them. I've really been thinking about it alot lately. Your post just re-assured me that I need to do what my heart desires and that it will all work out. Thank you for sharing your story.

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