Do I look like your secretary?

A few months ago, my very capable secretary decided to move on. It was a hard decision for her and  for me as well. She’s been with us for a number of years, seeing the company through the worst of times and betrayals. Just as we have been building, she decided it was time to do something different with her life and though it was sad, the connection remains strong.

Several years ago, my oldest daughter worked for our company as we were growing. She’s getting her university degree and as a young married woman, needs the income. The match is perfect as it allows her to almost seamlessly step in as my previous secretary leaves. She helped keep me calm when I could easily have wondered how, in the midst of work finally picking up, I could manage this transition. This week and last, between exams and some personal issues, my daughter couldn’t come into the office. This was clear from the start, expected and scheduled. Still, the phones thankfully ring; students call to register or find out more information, writers ask questions, people want to be paid and companies need to pay. And so Elie stepped in and offered to answer phones and do what he could.

Things are hectic now as we leave August and begin to look forward to September and a new round of courses. We have an amazing Training Center and have the great honor to be the first company recognized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to not only be authorized to give accredited training in the field of technical writing, but they used our course to set the standards in many ways. A Training Center means a working, functioning classroom with many computers, projectors, and more. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s a lot of work.

Elie will be starting a course soon, looking for work and planning to begin formal studies next September. He has time on his hands and thoughtfully came in yesterday when I was out of the office and my daughter couldn’t come in either. Today, my daughter also isn’t in and so Elie drove in with me. We stopped in a local supermarket to get milk and a few things. I bought myself some crackers and a container of egg salad.

Elie saw me eating, grabbed a cracker and spoon and smeared himself a serving. I picked up a bottle of water and asked him to water the plant behind him and then refill the water with cold water. To which my beautiful son turned to me and said, “do I look like your secretary?” and gave the most wonderful of laughs.

Life is good when your children are with you, when they are safe and happy. My youngest daughter is playing in one of the offices; my youngest son getting ready for the start of his school year later today. And somewhere, Shmulik is driving with his commanding officer. I have said many times that life is about accepting and even thriving in the curves you are thrown. Shmulik is happy with his new job in the army; happy to be home more often; happy to see new places in Israel and learn new skills.

I’ve always felt that as parents of several children, we often deal with the one that now has the “fire” under them. We let the others slip to focus more on the one who needs us now. Each has his or her needs, the moment when they need our almost undivided attention. I have no doubt that the next fire is hours or days away – it always is but at this single moment, right now – each child is calm.

No, Elie doesn’t look like my secretary standing there munching on an egg salad cracker with a grin on his face but his willingness to help out when there is a need means so much.

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