The Ties That Bind


Tomorrow is my last day on this swing shift of mine.  I am looking forward finally, after eighteen years, to a schedule that’s day shift with weekends off.

I’ve worked with my current set of co-workers for about the last five years, and they are such an awesome group of people.  I sort of hate to leave them.  I hope they know that I will miss them.  Their contributions to a harmonious work environment have heretofore been unsurpassed by any other group of people with whom I’ve worked in the last two decades.

My co-workers got together last week and decided that they were going to throw me a secret surprise going-away party.  They held it today.

I knew about it last week, though, so it didn’t stay very secret for very long.  Partly because in their excitement they couldn’t keep the secret, and partly because they wanted me to contribute to the feast of food we were about to have.  I was thrilled on both counts.

Tomorrow, between our daily work duties, we will have leftovers and I will pack up what few personal belongings I’ve managed to collect over time.  I won’t have far to go – my new job is just across the hall.  I’ll even get to keep my same locker, so some things won’t change.

The knowledge that I’ll be seeing new faces every day, and performing different duties, is a little unsettling.  I don’t really know the people with whom I will be working next week.  I feel like I’m about to move into an entire household of strangers, a lost little girl looking for her family.

We’ve become quite the little domestic unit in my current work area, each of us taking on our own familial roles.  We have a mom, a dad, a son, a sister, an uncle, and a brother.  We are comprised of ex-military, a hunter, a handy-man….the list of our talents goes on and on.  All of us are parents and spouses outside of work, and sometimes we can’t help but have our home-life bleed over into our work-life.

I kind of always thought of myself in the maternal role at work, being the oldest female there.  However, today I noticed that Sister might be subconsciously morphing into the mother figure in anticipation of my absence.  About an hour after we’d eaten, I overheard her ask Son if he needed to go to the bathroom, and offered to relieve him for a break in order to accomplish said task.

For propriety’s sake, I’ll just say that the question posed was a little more familiar than I have stated it here.

I heard him say that no, he was okay for a while yet, but he would let her know should the urge strike.  There was more to this genuinely earnest, yet strange, conversation.

Nobody was laughing.

I am going to miss this crew terribly, yet I have no doubt that they’ll get along just fine without me.

My concern is how well I’ll get along without them.




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