Today at work, (most days I feel strange calling my job “work”) I sat on the couch watching “Jaws The Revenge” with Megan and Jack, each of us snacking on Pizza goldfish while trying not to cringe at the continuous sight of bloody water and flailing limbs. After taking 2o minutes (it felt like 20, anyway) to get Jack and Megan to settle down on either side of me and stop fighting over who got to sit next to Kerry and who didn’t, I sat on the middle cushion, between a seven and nine year old who probably will have an easier time than me getting back into the ocean after seeing that great white rip through metal. I sat with my legs up, tucked under me with my feet sticking out one side, toes vulnerable to the sharks that I imagined could be hiding out under the couch. I get freaked out pretty easily. And yes, a cheesy depiction of a killer shark with the right theme music does me in.
As the three of us sat there, chomping on goldfish while Jaws the third clamped down on human flesh, I felt my little toe being nibbled on. Naturally, I knew the culprit would be their rolly-polly English Bulldog, Alicia, and instinctually I opened my mouth to scold her.
However, instead of saying my usual, “Alicia, no,” I said this:
“Jaws, no, NO biting!”
What happened next, I will never forget. Jack looked up at me, his eyes popping and mouth open in surprise, while his sister, who had just taken a sip of lemonade, sprayed it everywhere and bent over into an immediate fit of giggles. Jack let out his little seven year old guffaw and we all dissolved into laughter, while Alicia sat dumbfounded in front of us, her face all wrinkles and confused puppy eyes. Miss Kitty the cat sat on the second floor loft, looking down at us fools who couldn’t take things seriously for a moment after the incident. It was a simple name mix-up, really.
The thing is, I just realized today that, despite certain moments, I get paid to have fun. I have a job that requires me to be entertaining, imaginative, creative, funny, active, all that good stuff. I have a job that I can be myself at, that makes me feel like I’m making a difference. It may be a very subtle difference, but it feels significant to me. I can only hope, desperately cling onto a little shred of dwindling hope, that the future me will be as happy with my “career” as I am these days. Laughing at my own silly mistakes with two kids who’ve made my summer more than interesting is something that I just can’t complain about. Not today, anyway.