I work in an office with four lovely women. We have all become very good friends over the past few years. We worked closely together on Zoom during COVID, and became involved in each other’s personal lives. We actually had a big talk when we returned to the office in person, allowing each other to pull back, if that felt more comfortable.
Only one woman did, but was going through an ugly time with her then husband, which we all knew about. We gave her the space she needed and after a few months, she opened herself back up again.
Now one woman is retiring because her husband is being relocated for his work; and another woman has to go on medical leave as she is unwell. When fall comes along, it will just be me, the divorced woman, and a very young woman whom I adore but have nothing in common with.
I’m worried about the office and how it will change with new people.
End of an Era
Don’t waste your energy worrying. There’s nothing you can do to stop the change and keep things the way they were. But that doesn’t have to mean things will change for the worse.
The woman who’s divorced must have more going for her than the demise of her marriage, and she could probably use a friend. The young woman is going to grow up; you may find you have more in common with her, or that you can take on a role of big sister/mentor with her.
When fall comes along, be warm and welcoming to the newcomers. They may be lovely and two new relationships will be born. Or not. But give them a chance.
You have a life outside of the office and friends within. Enjoy the variety.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mom upset that her daughter didn’t acknowledge Mother’s Day (May 30):
Reader #1 – “In response to the mother who ‘can’t even look’ at her daughter after being so hurt about missing Mother’s Day.
“I am a mother of two children who have just finished university during the pandemic. What your writer describes is normal behaviour for that age group.
“University school terms are gruelling (12 weeks of classes and assignments followed by lengthy exams). Yes, they tend to curl up in a fetal position and sleep a lot in between terms. This is normal. The other things that are important are their friendships and opportunities to earn income. The daughter’s opportunity for both sounds hard to pass up. Good for her for doing this.
“My husband and I discovered very quickly that old routines, like family vacations and holidays, cannot be counted on with adult children. This is not a sign of disrespect or lack of love, but more of growing independence. There is an adage that we must, as parents, provide both ‘roots and wings.’ With roots, there is a knowledge of belonging (look at and speak to your daughter); the wings are recognition of the need for autonomy. Children need both from their families to become productive, well-functioning, and happy adults.
“The daughter informed the parents ahead of time that she would not be there. The daughter is doing her job, going to school, getting good grades, and earning money when she can. Importantly, for her is also socializing with her friends. This was extra challenging for university students in the past few years and did add to stress with my two.
“At about this age with our children, my husband and I (now married 33 years and counting) looked at each other and said, ‘Well it’s a good thing we like each other’ and started doing more things together that we enjoyed doing before the kids came along. Kids are welcome, of course, but this rarely works out; that’s reality and OK.”
Reader #2 – “Several unanswered questions arise from this letter for me:
1. Before her daughter left home to go to her friend’s cottage, they were very close. Why did the daughter change her behaviour while at the cottage?
2. Her mother says, ‘They were paying her to do the landscaping.’ Who else was at the cottage?
3. The daughter became hired help at the cottage. What are the consequences for her relationship with her friend or others there?
4. The daughter completed one year of university. She is likely not yet 20 years old. When she did not respond to repeated phone calls why weren’t her mother and father more concerned?
5. What happened at the cottage???”
Lisi – You bring up many good points, all with a dark slant.