G has gone back to work full-time at a hip, high-powered San Francisco advertising agency. She’s working with young, focused, creative and career-minded people who are truly living the dream. They work hard. They play harder. And, they get lots of free stuff.
G, on the other hand, works hard and wants to get home to see the K-Man. So, lunches are taken at her desk and food is often brought from home. (Which is also more economical – nothing her co-workers worry about. Yet.) The other day, while eating her turkey and avocado sandwich on wheat, one of her 20-something, single, hipster co-workers asked with appropriate enthusiasm, “What smells so good?”
G let her know that it was her fabulous, brought from home sandwich, but that it was nothing all that special - just your basic run-of-the-mill turkey and avocado on wheat. Turns out such sandwiches are available pretty much anywhere. The co-worker was not to be denied.
“No, that’s a Mom Sandwich!”
It turns out that this particular co-worker’s mom used to make the “very same sandwich!” (Which, I imagine was followed by, “ohmygawd!”) This sandwich wasn’t just comfort food for this woman, but it was a food-woobie. She pretty much wanted to wrap herself up in it and go night-night. The irony, of course, is that she, herself, would never dream of eating such a thing. Even with the 10,000-grain wheat bread that we buy at Whole Paycheck – carbs are carbs, ya know!
The additional irony comes with the timing of this exchange. On the heels of my 40th b’day, while I’m not finding myself feeling older, per se, everyone else just seems younger. I’m staying the same, immature age, but the world around me seems to live in the 18 – 25 (27 tops!) demographic. And, all of a sudden, there’s this realization that while my kid isn’t even three-years old, I am old enough to be the father (and G the mother) of her co-worker.
Maybe it’s because I did dive into the fatherhood pool a little later in life than most, but these reminders of “yes, you are a parent” seem to come every day. (This, of course, is also a nature of the work that I do and the stuff that I write. I do realize that.)
It simply wasn’t that long ago that if someone said, “Ohmygawd! That’s a total Mom Sandwich!” I might have replied with, “Oh totally. My mom used to make them all the time.” (A gift, by the way, as they would have been a reprieve from the cream cheese and jelly sandwiches on pumpernickel that my brother loved and I got by default.)
Now, though…it’s not about MY MOM and HER sandwich. This is about G. She’s the mom. This is about me. I’m the dad. This is OUR sandwich! Yes, I know we have a kid, but sometimes, there’s that shock that we’re parents. This co-worker reacted like G was “such a mom.” Yes, she’s a mom, but it’s not likes slipping on her “mom jeans” everyday. Hell, she is working at the very same killer SF agency as the hipster.
The “Mom Sandwich” isn’t about the sandwich – it’s about the mom. Regardless of our best efforts to maintain an identity outside of parenting, once that kid pops – we are forever defined as mom, dad, parents. I’m not suggesting that’s a bad thing. It’s just “a change.” Just like when we were little kids and we thought 40 was ANCIENT. Now, the “little kids” are our co-workers and, it’s not so much that we’re ancient, as we’re parents who make “Mom Sandwiches.”
Just wait until G brings in her “Mom Chinese Leftovers.” Her co-worker is gonna go off the hook.