My little brother and sister crossed an important threshold yesterday evening. They went to orientation at their very first jobs, becoming working people for the first time. They applied together off a tip from a mutual friend, got hired together, and soon they will each don versions of this hat:
and start making french fries or flipping burgers or taking people’s orders or whatever it is they’ll do.
This confirms it, ladies and gents, the kids aren’t kids anymore. They are now full-fledged working teenagers who will have to start paying taxes and, if my mother is still my mother, buying their own clothes, lunches, etc. I’ve known that they were on the job hunt for a while, but I guess I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. Maybe for my sister, she’s older and more mature. But my brother, despite being sixteen, sometimes acts like he’s still ten or so. [Then again, no matter how old we get, I suppose all of us still occasionally act like we’re ten or so. Hence the whole saying, “Act your age, not your shoe size,” right? Haha, I remember when I was in fourth grade, my age and my shoe size were the same number and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Anyway.] I suppose it’s time to accept the fact that they’re almost grown now.
It’s really weird how people just keep getting older when you’re not around them. Time just keeps passing and doesn’t give a damn that you’re missing it, you know? When I left for school, they were 13 and 14, just barely getting settled into being teenagers. My sister had been in high school for about two weeks. And now the fact that she’s about to be a senior in high school freaks me out almost as much as the fact that I’m about to be a senior in college. Part of me wants to say she’s not old enough to be a senior, just like part of me wants to say they’re not old enough for jobs. But they are. They keep growing and developing without my guidance and have become full-grown people in my absence.
I try to be the voice of reason when they’re doing stupid shit. I try to talk to them about things during the short bursts of time that I am home. But I have to accept that the era of me really directly influencing much in their daily lives is over. They are who they are. I’m not going to stop advising, but I am going to stop acting like they have to listen to me.
I think this job will be good for them, though, because they will have a BOSS. My little sister is prone to thinking she is the boss in every situation, because she’s a bitch and she can be real violent. But now she will have someone she has to answer to; they both will. They will both have clearly delineated responsibilities and tasks that they will be punished if they don’t complete well. They will have to work together and be a team without fussing and fighting. I’m hoping they’ll even interact with some lifetime McDonalds employees like I interacted with lifetime Wawa employees and understand why I push them so hard in school. Anyway, I think having a job will simultaneously make them feel grown up and remind them that they are not, in fact, grown, and I think that combination is a good thing for them. I’ll never forget the feeling of that first paycheck (they need bank accounts) and buying the first thing that I earned; I’m excited for them to have that. If they pull this off and stay working people, I’ll be really proud.
I can’t wait to go visit them at work when I get home and bug them. It’s going to be great.