My first day back at work

Here’s a riddle for you: what do Christmas trees, “Free Mamograms Today—no appointment necessary” signs, alien yard decorations, and beer all have in common? Answer: NASCAR.

NASCAR is a culture all of its own. For three days a year, four distinct groups of people come together for an event that gets crazier by the day. I call these groups The Paid People, The Whackers, The Spectators, and The Drivers. It is an event that reminds me to count intelligence as a blessing and that not everyone can make smart choices. It is an event that my children will never attend.

Day One: I sit in the pits all day, counting the various ways in which I can arrange my body in an ambulance seat. It’s my first day working and I miss my babies, but I’m grateful for the money and the chance to nap. I almost get run over while crossing the lot to go to the restroom by a few NASCAR drivers who apparently think it’s more important to go from the garage to the track at 40 mph than it is to preserve the life of the paramedic who might be saving their butt later in the day.

Day Two: I am stationed with a group of firefighters in the camp ground next to a food vendor who wants $7.00 for a cheese steak. I explain to my cohorts that I just had a baby and will need to pump milk every few hours, but that I’ll be fully covered so no one should feel awkward if they need to enter the camper. One of the female firefighters (missing a few teeth and still wearing her pajamas) says to me in an appalling tone “you’re baby is only 5-weeks-old and you left him to come up here?!” I want to tell her that, believe me, I’m still the better mother because she’s sitting there with a cigarette, swearing up and down in front of her 11-year-old scantily dressed daughter, and without having brushed her hair today…but instead, I shrug and tell her my family needs the money. I also mention that I want to be with my baby, would be if I could, miss him, and that he’s with his grandmother. I think about sticking out my tongue and saying “bet YOU wouldn’t bother to pump milk for your baby while working!”, but I just close the camper door behind me instead.

My only call of the day involves a 30-year-old who had a heart attack last year (needing two stents) and who is now having chest pain. He tells me he was “just smoking a cigarette” when the chest pain came on, and I ask him if he wants to die. He sheepishly replies “no,” and I inform him that he is now an ex-smoker then.

Day Three: I am stationed with a different fire department in a different area of the camping sections. From 6am-9am, things are pretty decent. I’m able to pump, eat breakfast, and even take a 30-minute nap. Then things start to roll and I find myself 2.5 hours late pumping. So instead of ensuring the future feeding of my son, I am transporting people who are in their 30’s but who don’t know that shouldn’t drink 12 beers, no water, and still expect to not get dehydrated after standing around in the sun for 5 hours. I remind myself to teach my son to be smarter than that.

So the working-pumping-motherhood adventures have begun again. Thankfully, God has worked miracles in my life and I will not be a full time working mom any more. *BIG happy smile* I resigned from my regular job and will instead be a paramedic two days a week, a music teacher (from my home) one day a week, and an online entrepreneur the rest of the time (just what that will be, I have yet to determine). Do I want to be with my babies all of the time? Absolutely! Am I glad, though, that I have the opportunity to make ends meet and help other people during their times of need (or stupidity, as today would have it) while I’m at it? Yes! Returning to work is never easy, but this time, I didn’t cry as I pumped my baby’s first bottle of milk. For all of these things, I am grateful.

2 thoughts on “My first day back at work

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  1. I came home from work NASCAR weekend to have the discussion about underage drinking with my son. My two month old son who just smiled and cooed and laughed at me.
    But I'm telling you, if he's fifteen years old and lies to me about where's going, gets intoxicated, fights with a cop, runs off and gets hurt and has to be transported by ambulance to the ER, he can't say he wasn't warned about what will happen to his life.


  2. You are hilarious, my dear. Until we moved out of the area, I worked in a much less-important capacity at the track, checking credentials, ect. I know exactly what you mean.


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