My mother’s name was Susan. She was one heck of a gal. She would give you the shirt off her back… even if she was not wearing one (necessitating her daughter providing said two shirts) but also teaching me the joy and the value of giving without any thought of reward. She had my back. Yeah, that. She had my back, regardless of the stupid things I did. Crazy choices I made. She was a rock. Damn, if my eyes don’t fill and it has been over five years.
Not the point of this post.
I took this library job with some consternation. I have manged people since I was 22. I do not enjoy it all all. I enjoy mentoring people in which I can see potential. But basic 101 management… stick a fork in my eye. Please, it would be easier. But I took the job and I have two staff members I supervise.
One of them may be the reason I buy wine in bulk (I tell myself it is for the discount). The other is why I think there is a higher power and She has one heck of a sense of humor. My second staff member is calm and zen like. Still waters run deep. Not much ruffles her but if she gets mad, you take notice. She has patience with the kids and knows more about nature (and my youth book collection) than I will ever know. She tells stories that make me giggle and am also astounded by the many twists and turns her life has taken. She is a fascinating novel in and over herself. Reminds me of my mother and then not even remotely. She is lovely and a joy to work with… I mean supervise.
She makes me such a better person in so many ways. I take more chances. I say, I don’t know more and then figure it out instead of bluffing. I make more mistakes and I give myself permission to learn. I am more me.
I am currently reading The Diary of a Bookseller (pick it up and see… I bet you like it) and there are quite a few terms I don’t understand as it is based in Scotland. Year ago me would have said, uh yeah I get the gist, moving on. But I found myself in the first 100 pages looking up three words… that is huge for me. And in the back of my head, I feel this sense of … what is the rush, is there a rush? don’t you want to learn? And that is what she has given me. I’d say I mentor her as well as supervise, but I wonder who is mentoring whom.
I am currently professionally pushing her to the edge of her comfort zone. Mostly to keep her from getting bored but I also know it is a risk. You push to hard and poof. And that also fascinates me. She embodies the line by EStVM of “some day, not too bright and not too stormy, I’ll be gone and you may whistle for me.” We had an incident about eight months ago that I was not totally sure she was coming back from lunch break, I told her that when she returned and she smiled and told me she had considered it. And damn if I don’t admire that ability to say, nope, make a call and move forward.
Part of me knows I will never be able to give her back what she has given to me, that chance to learn to slow down and enjoy the warm, humor and friendship of another Susan.