Nah, not me, I’m not pregnant, it is a friend at work.
It was her last day yesterday and now she has gone off on maternity leave. I’d be very surprised if she came back.
I’m going to miss her.
I’ve got maternity cover for her in the shape of another very excellent colleague, who is lovely, hugely experienced and more than capable of doing an excellent job.
But, it’s all the other little things I’m going to miss.
I employed this colleague as a news editor when I was editor of another local paper in our group. We have worked as a team over several business changes and restructures and she became my right hand man.
She is loud, opinionated, bossy, she shouts at people and she is her own worst critic.
But she is also very organised, kind, fiercely loyal, protective of the people she cares about, energetic and lots of fun – hmmmm, all the qualities you need to be a great mum.
She has been my Regimental Sergeant Major for the last few years and there have been many times that I couldn’t have done without her.
Now I am disorganised, chaotic, haphazard and forgetful. That’s just the way I am, it’s been well over 40 years now, I hope most people will have given up thinking I am going to improve with age, I’m not.
When I have wandered round the office saying ‘I am meant to be doing something really important, anyone know what it is?’ she knows.
When the office manager gives me my car tax disc two weeks before I need it and I lose it, she knows where it is.
When I am wondering why the person I want to speak to isn’t around when I need them, she knows it’s because they are on holiday and I have a meeting with them the following day.
When I’ve been working ridiculous hours and am dead on my feet, she tells me to go home (actually she isn’t the only one who does that). Or she turns up in the morning with a large cup of Starbucks’ black coffee (with vanilla syrup). Or she goes and buys me a sandwich at lunchtime.
When I’ve had to take time off because of operations or when my family circumstances were difficult, she (and others) picked up the pieces for me at work and just ran with them, leaving me to concentrate on whatever disaster was happening at the time.
She’s made me laugh and she’s made me cry (literally), the two of us have worked together through so many changes and hit every deadline and it’s been fun, traumatic, stressful, hardwork and more fun.
Yes, I’m going to miss her and I hope I have told her enough over the years how much her hard work, dedication, trust, loyalty and friendship has meant to me.
She’s going to make a great mum – but I now need a new PA.