Today was Take Your Kid to Work Day.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Or heard the screams associated with it?
There’s nothing like TYKTWD first thing in the morning. You have to love the nervous little kids, dressed up and so totally unsure about where they are going and what they are doing. All the kids at Corporate Behemoth get name tags at the security desk and these special little backpacks. It is adorable.
The adorableness continues during Stage One of TYKTWD. A coworker takes her second grader around to interview people. The child in question is wearing a new outfit and her glasses, because she thinks they make her look smart. It works. And her hard-hitting interview?
1. What are you working on?
2. What do you like about working here?
3. What’s your favorite color?
4. What’s your favorite snack food?
5. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Adorable. She will later make a PowerPoint based on her findings.
Then? Then, we move on to Stage Two of TYKTWD.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The parents start to look a bit haggard, and the kids start to talk louder. They’re more comfortable with their surroundings and begin to take certain liberties. Like raiding the candy dish. And sneaking into your cube, whispering, “I’ve escaped! I’m hiding from my dad!”
Stage Two quickly devolves into Stage Three.
Stage Three is when two little monsters high on candy start loudly rearranging the magnets on your cube while their dad is on a conference call, oblivious, several cubes away. When the dad in question finally a) realizes his offspring are missing; and b) tears himself away from his call to find them rearranging desks, you hear the tell-tale sign that Take Your Kid to Work Day is quickly going to turn into Take Your Kid Home From Work Day.
“Dad! Let’s play puppy! Now, I’m a puppy! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf!”
“No! No, we don’t play puppy at the office!”
“Arf! Look at me wag my tail! Arf!”
“Don’t you want to watch me talk on the phone?”
“No! I’m a puppy! I want to run!”
“Nooooo … “
And that’s the end of Take Your Kid to Work Day.
Except … one of my coworkers brought his 6-year-old, a sweet little girl who, once upon a time, was in the same preschool as The Ladybug. You know The Ladybug … the daughter of The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful.
I had last seen my coworker’s daughter during the Christmas pageant that, although held in the sanctuary of a church, had absolutely nothing to do with the birth of our lord and savior. Instead, it was focused solely on Santa. This little girl and The Ladybug were pals. That was two years ago.
And today? Today, my coworker’s daughter looked so grown up. I almost commented on how big her feet were, but decided that was rude. Instead, I noted how tall she is getting.
Her dad looked at me quizzically. “Umm … she’s actually the smallest kid in her class by far.”
And then I knew that The Ladybug, tall by nature, has probably grown so much in the last year and a half that I might not even recognize her. This, a little girl I thought I would see grow to adulthood.
Truth be told, I have made my peace with Ex-Wonderful. And God knows I’m relieved he’s not judging my parenting skills anymore, and I am ecstatic that I no longer have to pretend it’s OK when his evil bitch ex-wife looks through me.
But their daughter? Well, my heart still hurts a bit for her.