Jonny told the kids that if he got the job at the law firm he interviewed at about a month ago, that we were getting Chinese takeout for dinner, something we never do. If he got this job, it would be a big deal. At the end of the day of interviews, he was told by the hiring manager that he would hear something within a week. When we closed in on the two-week mark, he was pretty certain that this would end up resulting in yet another phone call to tell him, “We went with another candidate.” That was the case with a North Carolina university, and later with a laboratory outside of Knoxville, TN that kept him waiting for an answer for two long months. Then there was the pharmaceutical company that seemed like a strong possibility, and one that wouldn’t require a move right away. Though when we learned they had been indicted by the Department of Justice, we felt a little unsure about whether or not he really wanted that job. I was a little bit relieved when he didn’t get it.
I was teaching my Monday biology class when I looked down to see a text on my phone. Jonny had written, “We are eating Chinese food tonight!” I may have screamed. I ran from the room shouting that he got the job, the best possible job at the law firm. I hugged some friends and then did my best to get refocused on biology.
Everything moved really quickly after that because they wanted him to start the following Monday. We had lots to do to get him ready. For the past eleven years, Jonny has worked from home. The new job requires nice clothes (he had very little outside of his interview suit), shaving (every day instead of every month or two), and commuting. He is gone for more than 12 hours every day because the commute takes over two hours one way. This is life for many who live in our area and work in D.C.
Over the years, I have been asked many times how I do all that I do or how I make time for things like knitting. One answer is that I choose things such as ending the day with knitting or a book rather than making my house spotless for the next day. Or I spend the afternoon dyeing yarn and then realize I have no idea what we are having for dinner. (I’m not always the best meal planner.) But something that I may have taken for granted was the cooperation between Jonny and me. There was an unspoken rhythm there that I didn’t quite see until it was broken. Right now, I am struggling to get just the basics of housekeeping and homeschooling done. I finish with the younger kids, and then it’s time to help with the older ones. (I’ve got two teenage boys who hate to write and are taking some writing-intensive classes this year. I could spend hours upon hours helping them.) I think about getting down to my studio to work, but then realize that I’ve got to do some housework or I’ll go crazy from the mess. (Yes, everyone has chores and pitches in, but no, no one really cleans and helps to my standards and without being reminded.) When Jonny was working from home, his schedule was flexible and he also had all those hours that he now spends commuting to help with kids and housework so that I could get things done as well. We still frequently felt a little like we were drowning, because raising a big family is a lot of work, but we had a system of sorts.
To tell the truth, having Jonny work from home caused me a lot of stress over the years. It was hard to keep the children away from him so he could work and a couple of years ago I started praying for a change, for a job that would take him out of the house. There have definitely been days in the last year that the words, “Be careful what you pray for,” went through my head. But now Jonny has what seems to be the best possible job, and despite the commute and all that shaving he has to do, he’s happier than I’ve seen him in years. And despite the fact that I realize that I’ll never get my house cleaned up now, I’m happier too because the stress of worrying about whether or not he is able to get his work done has been lifted.
Last weekend, the first after Jonny started the new job, he went on his new firm’s biennial retreat. We went straight from a week of barely seeing him, to having him gone all weekend. I had a wedding to photograph on Saturday, a twelve-hour workday for me. We wouldn’t have planned things that way, but it all worked out. I called him from the road on Saturday night after the wedding and he was so excited about all the people he was meeting and I was full of all that positive wedding energy. It felt really good, like we are in a new and exciting phase of our lives.
So here we are! After a year of under employment, Jonny’s at work full time. We are both exhausted, but so thankful. God answered my prayers. Now, I have a wedding to edit, kids to homeschool, and laundry to fold amongst other things. But,hey! I know what we are having for dinner tonight! Now I’ve just got to make it.
p.s. Lark baked the first cake (pumpkin spice topped with pumpkin spice macarons) for our church’s annual cake walk. I heard it was really yummy. I tasted the macarons, and they definitely were! My girls won the second cake. Mabel chose it for the Frozen theme. So fancy!
p.p.s. Mabel gets so dirty.