If there is one thing that I learned from the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, it’s that guilt is a dish served by every culture.
As the child of an Orthodox Jew and an Italian Catholic, who converted, there was always plenty of guilt in our house.
A whole bunch of years later, I have really tried to NOT bring my three kids into that miserable cycle.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped me as a parent from feeling the pain.
Take this morning as an example.
My fifth grade son had an assembly in school where he was being given an award for perfect attendance during the second semester.
Nice touch, sure.
Pulitzer, not exactly.
The FIRST thing he said to me this morning -- at 6:42am -- was, “are you coming to my assembly today?”
In a deep daze, I replied, “I really don’t want to sit there for 45 minutes to hear the names of a bunch of kids I don’t know.”
That sound you hear is my “father of the year” nomination flying out the window.
An hour later, I dropped my son off at school.
Ten minutes later, I returned to attend his assembly.
Let’s be honest, that was the ONLY reason that I turned around.
I kept hearing that not-so little voice in my head saying, YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED, WHY AREN’T YOU GOING?
Wow, that voice is loud.
As I walked into the gym, the first thing I heard was the voice of the principal saying that this was a record crowd of parents.
All I could think about was if those other parents would’ve taken the same approach as I did, at 6:42am, it would’ve been a not-so perfect attendance.
I made immediate eye contact with my son, as if he was staring at the entrance from the moment he sat down.
When he saw me, it looked like Christmas morning.
His smile was as big as it could be and it immediately validated my decision, not that I needed that.
I also made eye contact with one of the dads that I knew.
He is recently divorced and definitely looking to take every opportunity to bond with his kids.
Unlike my work situation, he is VERY employed. Too employed actually.
His job takes him around the world, from Africa to Abu Dhabi and everywhere in between.
I’m sure he makes plenty of money, which means he can buy great gifts for his kids while he gone, weeks at a time.
Several months ago, he asked how my search for employment was going at which point I responded, nowhere.
He then asked if I was willing to relocate, at which point I told him that I had applied for jobs from Chicago to China, literally.
He said, what about the Middle East? Saudi Arabia... Dubai... “I’ve got lots of contacts over there.”
My heart started fluttering. My palms began to sweat. That’s like, all the way over there.
My wife has made it clear that she is willing to relocate anywhere, but I’m not sure that 7,814.19 miles away qualifies.
But, with her blessing, I sent my resume to him.
He sent my resume to them.
They didn’t reply.
Wow, it works the same all the way over there.
Imagine the guilt.