Big Night In A Desert Town

And don’t tell anyone…but it’s not so bad having three moms who are all way cooler than you are.

Last night, three of my co-workers, friends, and adopted daughters in my own mind treated me to an amazing night on the town. And true we were still celebrating yet another of my birthdays and the town, Palm Springs, is home for citizens who remember Dwight D. Eisenhower as a lad. But as we would learn; even my fave comedian Chris Rock, whose Total Blackout tour stop in the desert was my B-day gift, isn’t a kid anymore.

We’ve been working together for fourteen, fifteen, and going-on nineteen years. These three young women couldn’t be more distinctive; their personalities and instinctive routes to problem solving are all their own. But for Kolleen, Dani, and Dalila, family is everything. And though I think of them as daughters, there are times when I know they see themselves as my mother. And being responsible and accountable for me is really hard work.

And it seems like recently I’ve given a fair amount of press to dental assistants Dani and Kolleen and they deserve it.

But what about someone who has been there for you for almost two freakin decades? Financial Coordinator Dalila has been an often outspoken factor around here from President Clinton to President Apprentice.

Dalila walked into our office for the first time before we were even Temple City Dental Care. And there are a few things I remember about our first encounter. For one, I went a little too ethnic with the name most famously linked to an unfortunate haircut. Dalila went to Mark Keppel High School just as I had only a few years earlier (in my dreams.) And family was Dalila’s most important core value while teamwork was the missing ingredient in her previous workplace experiences.

Several months into her new job, Dalila and her husband were sitting in the chapel when I eulogized my mom. The next day, Dalila was working in the kitchen over at my aunt’s house following the funeral services. And we all look back at some indelible images.

And Dalila might resent my sharing it, but I think she’s mellowed a bit. During those early years, the NBA Finals paled by comparison with our battles of will. But Dalila was my first co-worker whoever followed my coaching to apologize to resolve conflicts, even when thinking you were somewhere between 95-99% in the right.

Team Leader Dani and I became godparents to Dalila’s first born. We were also there for one memorable Karate Kid type performance by son Andrew. And I think, these days, Kindergartener Jacob and I can actually both smile in the same room.

There are times when Dalila could be the next great source for renewable energy; her love for and loyalty to family shine through as authentically as a sunrise. Dalila and I and her co-workers can be on different pages of the same novel but when our vision is on the line, we’re all still family.

What’s kind of scary is the fact the last time I saw Chris Rock on tour was ten years ago; Chris hadn’t toured since. And it seemed like Dalila wasn’t the only one who’d mellowed a bit.

Chris Rock was as smart, fearless, and edgy as ever; and is there better medicine than 2-hours of prolonged abs-crunching laughter?

But this time Rock was more reflective and thoughtful; he pretty much shared a confession, revealing what a poor husband he’d been during a marriage of 16-years that ended in divorce only months ago. “If you have somebody you love, hang on tight.”

It was a great night. I’ve known Dalila for as long as I had the chance to know my brother. And don’t tell anyone…but it’s not so bad having three moms who are all way cooler than you are.