Did you just hear that? That sound...you, know, that strong, clear sound of a solid door closing? Yep. That's what I thought. I heard it too. Not scary like a trapped feeling, but the strong bolting of things securely battened down in the midst of a whirling dervish. The security of knowing that when the storm comes, and it will come, the foundation and the important things are protected. Thus it is and ever shall be. Hubby has completed his tour of service to the United States Government, a different type of tour from a soldier, but that man has taken it every bit as serious as if he was wearing fatigues and weaponry. But then, when it comes to Hubby's work ethic, he is always full tilt. We started our married life with him working at a pizza restaurant. He, earning a grand total of 82.00 per week; me, a sales clerk in a fabric store, earning 53.00 per week. Two months into the marriage, Hubby was hired on by Allis-Chalmers as a drill press operator. The amazing salary increase from pizza cook to a certified union machinist position, gave us the opportunity for me to stay home for awhile during our very newlywed status. We had fun. We worked the night shift so supper was at midnight, TV was finished after Johnny Carson and we slept till 2 in the afternoon. We bought a sports car, drove out east to my sister's a few times and just had a swell time. This went on for a few years before I applied for a night sales position in a very arty, high end gift/gourmet shop. My years there taught me much about design, good taste and cooking. When 1978 dawned, the shop was preparing to close, the owner moving out of state. Coincidentally(!), I was nearly seven months pregnant at the time, so what better time to put the end of my work history? For nearly 40 years, Hubby has supported me and then all six of us. His jobs have relocated us twice and his finale with private industry introduced him to the work of the U.S. Government army munitions work from which he is retiring today. Thirty years,10 months. And he never complained. Never voiced his frustration with having no financial assistance with the daily needs of a large family. He has worked double shifts and outrageous hours but he never complained. He grew ill at one point due to the out of control hours he was putting on too old of a body, but even still, if I (and his doctor) demanded that he stop all the hours, he would still be plugging on. Dead, but plugging on. I had the wondrous privilege of being home with all my children. Until this past Wednesday, I had not worked at an actual job since that long ago shop, 34 years ago.
He seemed content for the plan; I stay home and mind the children and become all I wanted to be (friend, discipler, crafter, enterpreneur, bible study leader, mentor,community volunteer, child care provider, devil my care flying fool, etc etc.)To this day, I don't know why we live in the wonderful home that we do on one income. I do know that this was a special position to be in and I have always been very thankful for it. Very thankful. I have packed this man's lunch box for many years and it has rarely varied. During one long haul, he was waking at 3:30am to get to work by 5:00. I don't think I'll ever forget making lunches at that early hour. More than once I forgot his sandwich, due to the fuzziness of my sleepy brain. One sandwich, (cotto salami or other deli meat), three pieces of fruit, some snack crackers, some fruit bar and a thermos of ice tea. That's it. And except for the brief time of a diabetic menu that he had to keep, it has been the same for almost the length of his work career. I may go out on a limb here, but I do believe it is the same lunchbox. That is my Low Maintenance, Man of Few Needs man. Tonight, before I went off to My New Job, I kissed and hugged him the same way I have every time he has left for work. Maybe the hug was a bit longer as we quietly, silently acknowledged the changing of the guard. Both of us know full well that we have less ahead of us than that which has passed, and we are good with that. We are old enough and wise enough now to recognize it and enjoy it with an ebullient attitude. We shall go forward into this Third Act with confidence and peace knowing we have done this thing called Work Career well. Yes. The door has shut but not bolted. There is another job for him come next month. He is not ready to be totally still, but yet ready for a break from 90 minute commutes and crazy demands as a supervisor in a government facility. My little part time job will keep us in gas money to travel to our grandgirl's homes. We will putter with our home and I will still be the sewing fool that I have always been. Hubby will find ways to create that the long hours of labor had put on hold. I look forward to how 'retirement' will play out in this recovering workaholic I call my Hubby. I look forward to everything with him... Bring on the Third Act! Thank you LORD!