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Serving with a side of baby.

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Both of my children arrived early. My son was two weeks early and my daughter… five.

Tomorrow, I will be exactly 32 weeks pregnant… which means this lovely little girl could arrive any time in the next 4-6 weeks.

I have two weeks left at work and if I weren’t out of time, I would continue right up to the moment I went into labor.

Which is precisely what people brace for when I approach their tables now.

C- “OH GOD, you’re about to pop, huh!”

C2- “Are you sure there’s only one baby in there? I think there’s two. That happens you know. I’m pretty sure you’re having twins”

C3- Wow! You’re HUGE!”

All of these comments were made by women, I might add. Men have been so fantastically complimentary that I feel quite beautiful, thankyouverymuch.

I work with the most wonderful bunch of people…. and frankly they’re closer than most of my genetic family members. I’m your garden variety extremely pregnant woman. My back aches. My ankles are swollen. I get heartburn from a sip of ice water. I’m less than comfortable and beaming with the happiness created by the imminent arrival of a baby I only ever dared to dream I would, could or should have.

My boss is the quintessential perfect big sister…. and she’s younger than me. I work my ass off and provide great service because I love her and I want her to succeed as much as I want to pay my bills and feed my children. She’s so much more than a boss, and even more than just a friend. She’s family, she has faith in me when I’m doubtful and she is the bright smile that greets me each day and waves me home at the end of each night.

My co-servers are my chosen sisters. Women I adore who represent every dynamic and beautiful facet of feminine strength you can imagine. We are more than a team, we are a force to be reckoned with in perfectly pressed black and ever present beaming smiles. We won’t just serve you- we’ll stick in your brain as one of those magic nights you had with your wife, your kids… or yourself. We love what we do and it shows because we work with people we want to spend time with. Our restaurant is not just a fantastic place to eat, it’s an experience with the finest group of happy friends you would want to be part of.

My kitchen boys. Sigh… the same men I had such a weakness for in the past who are so incredibly attractive and dynamic. Not only can they smile your bad day into a giggle… they can cook the perfect steak and make you feel gorgeous in a pair of hot polyester maternity pants. The man behind the swinging door… My sweet Mr. Commitment, bless his heart… is afflicted with the same disease I used to have. He encrusted my steak with pink peppercorn the week I was craving pepper. He makes incredible food look like art… and he wants most what he cannot have. He’s a phenomenal man and deserves an equally incredible woman… he just likes the douchey girls. Bless his heart… I hope he knows at some point how much more he’s worth. Some lucky woman deserves to steal him away from the crappy girls that waste his time.

My favorite, Mr. Perfection blows us all away on a daily basis. Our executive chef next door, who runs his own kitchen… but also comes next door to save us when we need saving. He’s a one-man-miracle, fixing appliances, planning menus and running two separate restaurants with a level of respect and kindness I’ve never seen… and my dad is a chef. He’s the gentle one who wants to know how the night went while making the kitchen fix you dinner after hours. I had a crush on him for years but he’s perennially single and married to the job. The restaurant is his lady and our success is, in many ways; thanks to him. He’s become a dear friend and it’s refreshing to know that not all chefs have traded their souls for cooking skills. They can be good men and good at what they do. He’s proof.

The one sad fact of the job is that sometimes people leave… and my dear King Sushi has left the building. When I got this new job after escaping the hell that was my old job, I walked in to see curly red hair and sparkly mischievous eyes grinning at me. Once upon a time I would have fallen in love with his wicked ways and gotten my heart broken along with all the other girls who couldn’t help themselves… but I love him like a brother and I understand him like a friend. My Little Red loves him just the same, and he’s family in ways few people are to us. Walking in to see an empty spot where he used to be grinning is as much a death in the family as when your oldest goes away to college. He’s a hot head, he’s a red head… he pissed us all off on a regular basis…. and I miss him so much that his absence is the only thing that makes my upcoming work hiatus a little more bearable.

So yeah… my legs ache…. and I may have a few more varicose veins than I did a month ago. I slip into my black clothes, glide some lipgloss on and look forward to every minute of my night with the family I feel so blessed to have found.

They say when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life… and I love being a mother more than anything, but I love my job too.  This job has taught me that when you really have a family… their absence stings.

I’m going back to work after baby Quinn is born, which I never thought would happen. Honestly in my mommy heart, I would rather not… but it’s more than a job. It’s my family, and I love them. They lift me up when I’m heartbroken and hopeless and they have taught me the one thing I struggled so hard to learn about myself.

I’m an amazing server and I kick ass and take names with a wine key. I memorize your favorite things and catalog the shit you hate. I know what you drink, I know which hand you use and I remember your spouse, children and grand-children’s names. I don’t just go to work, I come to serve.

A year to the day I got fired from the worst job I’ve ever had… I am living proof that even the darkest days can give way to days brighter than you ever imagined.

I am reminded not to settle, and would hope my work experience would inspire anyone stuck in a job they hate, with people that make life miserable and don’t appreciate you.  Life is short and time is fleeting.

Do what makes you happy ♥

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