"What shoes do you think I should wear?"
I was talking to Larkin, our oldest daughter, as I drove across town. She was preparing for a first-job interview, and I was several hundred miles away preparing to interview someone else's 22 year-old for a first job.
"It's a Skype, Larkin," I said. "I don't think your shoes are going to be the deciding factor."
"Wear the shoes that make you feel the most confident," I interrupted, remembering my pledge to validate her.
The next hour passed with an impressive demonstration lesson and thoughtful answers to our collection of questions. I managed to focus on the answers and content, although I wondered at one point how much thought had gone into our candidate's shoes. I liked them. I didn't compliment them, but I did share with her that my own daughter was having a parallel experience as we walked from the classroom back to the interview room.
When our candidate left, I couldn't resist.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I really need to check my phone and my own girl's experience before we debrief."
My phone was full of text messages. F.U.L.L.
Mom. I got it!Mom. Mom, call me. Mom, I got it. CALL ME. MMMOOOOOMMMMM.My response shocked everyone-- including me-- because I started to cry.
"Go call her," they all said. "We will wait."
I called her and we had a quick celebration conversation. We'd plan the details of how to get her from Michigan to Denver (next week), and we'd figure out how we'd visit from Connecticut. No worries. There's a direct flight.
I returned to the interview room. We debriefed. I focused.
And then, when I got back into the car to drive to a different school, I cried. To the point where I had to reapply mascara.
Sometimes in life there's a fine--almost invisible-- thread between what we want and what we don't want.