His first job was a cook at the local Sonic, he got it so he could afford to take me to my senior prom. There was Subway, a coffee and bagel shop, a photographer at one of those old-fashioned souvenir shops, a pizza delivery guy, a garbage truck driver, manual laborer for our local Parks department (his hair was so blond and he was so tan that summer), a number of miscellaneous jobs during our first six years together.
This is one of the beautiful things about marrying your high school sweetheart. I love the history we share, I love that I’ve been there since the beginning of his working career. I have loved watching his resume grow, his job skills sharpened, and seeing the boy I fell in love with become more confident with each new position.
In February 2004 he started working with the state, in their transportation department. He didn’t love it at first, in fact, he hated it. But it had more to do with the crew he’d been assigned than the actual work. He transferred to a new shop and crew and that made all the difference. He loved the new location, his boss, and the other employees. And that move proved providential.
In 2007 his immediate boss announced his retirement and Jon began to study. I recorded policies and procedures into mp3 formats so Jon could listen to them on his iPod. These still occasionally pop up on his iPod and I cringe every time I hear myself listing the unique identifiers of each policy. But it worked, and in December of that year, Jon became the youngest shop foreman in the state.
In the six years Jon had that job, it was amazing to watch him. He’d defuse tense relationships, he’d put his foot down on difficult situations, he provided ice cream treats and pizzas for the guys that worked on his road projects with him. It was obvious that men enjoyed working for him, and respected him.
It was in 2012 and 2013 that I really saw Jon grow into a leader. Between the wildfires and the floods, his decisions were quick and decisive, he knew what he was talking about and engineers and his bosses started seeking his opinion on problems. Summers are supposed to be his “slow” seasons, after all, I call myself a “winter widow”. But these last two summers have proved to be more stressful and busy than most winter seasons. But he did his job and he did it well.
We’ve known for most of 2013 that his supervisor was retiring in December, and Jon was named the interim Junior Foreman while they found a permanent replacement. So while Jon juggled several different hats at work, out came the policies and procedures, the flashcards, the books, and the notes. He’d work all day, then shut himself in our room at night to study. I can’t tell you how many times I’d come to bed and find him asleep all over his study materials. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking to see him pour so much of himself into this position.
There were bumps along the way. And each time we had to resolve to wait out the process, knowing that the decision was out of our hands. Knowing that ultimately, we were being held in God’s hands. I went to family and friends, begging for their prayers. It was those prayers that sustained us these past few months!
He made it through the first interview, then the second. And then we just waited. And waited. For over two weeks we waited. And during those two weeks, we honestly didn’t have a feeling about the position. It could go either way, and we suddenly realized that we had peace about it. Worst case scenario, he didn’t get the job and he’d still have a job he loved.
But this last Friday arrived, and with it. we knew an answer was coming. I forgot to breathe more than once, reminding myself that I needed to take deep breaths. And during his meeting, I was trying to shop for Hudson’s birthday party the next day. What a joke. I barely remember walking through the stores, let alone trying to pick anything out. Each phone notification had me jumpy and shaky.
It was in the pack of our local party supply store that I received a text from Jon. I couldn’t see anything, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to open it. I sank to the floor and opened the text to see a letter of congratulations. And I started crying…
I don’t have the words to express how thrilled I am for him. I don’t know how to tell him how proud I am of his hard work and his dedication. I can try, and I’ve spent most of the weekend trying to express what I’m feeling. Throughout this whole weekend, we’d exchange looks and smiles, in awe that this actually happened; that he became a junior foreman years before he’d wanted, and on his first try too. He worked so hard for this, he wanted it so badly, and its an amazing thing to see your husband’s dream come true.
Now that the stress is over, his goofy and carefree smile is back. And that is a beautiful sight indeed.