I drive into the turf farm yard and wait by the door.  After a quick text announcing my arrival, son #1 comes out of the lunch room, backpack slung and dirty from head to toe. His green camouflage shorts are now brown camo.  He’s finished his 7 to 1 shift.

“How are you doing bud?”  I ask and he climbs into the vehicle and replies with a fine but tired.  We stop for a smoothie and he takes it with his hands and I see dirt in his nails, in his finger joints and all over his face, lots of dirt.  I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen my intellectual son so dirty.

He is working this summer doing “grunt” work.  His word – not mine.  Maybe he expected to work in the office as a manager?

I harken back to one of my first interviews and the incredible flop that it was.  I applied at a shoe store in the mall.  They phoned me that day to come in for an interview.  I was so excited that I just drove over.  Didn’t look in the mirror, just dressed in energy.

I should have put on pants.  I should have worn shoes.  Maybe make-up would have been nice.

The owner ever so bluntly told me so.

I can laugh now about my sandals and jean short shorts impression but at the time I was crushed and indignant!  I didn’t want that job anyways.

I think it was writer Natalie Goldberg who said she’s horribly unemployable.  I think I agree.  I am horribly unaware of what expectations are of the worker and I too want to rise right to management.  But then I’ll change my mind and want to be home with the kids and working in my garden.  {sigh} Maybe purposefully meandering?

My son has a bit of my style and I’m so proud that he’s risen to this challenge.  Driving the tractor and learning how to back up with a trailer.  It’s harder than you think.  But really I think he’s learning more than a book could ever tell him.

You can’t learn endurance from a book.

You can’t learn how to be on time and be responsible in a video game.

You can’t taste thirst quenching water in a virtual maze.

First jobs are important. They are the skills we bring into the adult world. It is more than just grunt physical labor.  But he doesn’t know that yet.  He’ll have to work in places he doesn’t like and jobs where he finds purpose to know what he likes.  And I definitely can’t do that for him.

His first job is the beginnings of him finding God’s purpose for him.  I know that it’s simplistic to boil it all down to one event but this step is out of the realm of family.  Out of the control of loving parents.  He’s into the world of humanity and injustice, yet pure pleasure.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. SeussOh, the Places You’ll Go!

Just another step for our family.  Watching and praying and cheering him on.