Okay, not today, but tomorrow, my Joshwa turns 28! It’s hard to believe that he’s nearly 30 (and of course, I’m little more than a year behind him!), not because 30 seems all that old anymore, but because we’re getting that close to having been together for nearly 10 years. Some of you may say I’m a little premature (hey, it has been 6 1/2 years!), but you have to understand that before my Joshwa, my longest relationship was 6 MONTHS.
I’ve talked before about the beginning of our relationship. We became inseparable pretty quickly and within 2 months he had moved in and we were “together”. Of course, it took us another 3 months to put into words what we were to one another. Granted all of our friends knew what we were – apparently they discussed it when we weren’t around, lol. But we needed to take our time with it because of where we were each coming from – him a “broken” home and me not believing that I was lovable – and I have no regrets about how our relationship started. But I had just turned 20 when we got together. So my Joshwa peaking over the edge of 30 gets me thinking about that big milestone. I mean, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary last month and our 5th handfasting anniversary is coming up this June.
I’ve seen him start off as a young man with lots of dreams, but no plans – and when those dreams came crashing down around him, he was a young man with no direction. And for a while we both just drifted. Work was just work, you know? And then we got married and ran away to Chicago – call it our last little huzzah. ^__^ But we were up there with his older brother (which was mostly awful, since he and I don’t get along when we get too much face time) and after the initial fun of being around his brother, Joshwa startedreally looking at his brother. Michael is about to turn 32 and has never held a steady job, and never more than minimum work/minimum wage jobs. He is now in college again, but we’ll see how that goes. Seeing his brother without direction and already 30 really affected my dear husband, because he didn’t want to become his brother.
So after he broke his wrist and saw how little his job cared about him (trying to blame him for his manager’s laziness and thoughtlessness) he decided he was ready to get out of Chicago, out of his position with the parks service, and get on a plan. And, of course, we were ready for kids. We struggled, leaving Chicago without a plan. No matter how good a face I put on it, we struggled, and it was because we left without a plan. But it was what was best for us – and it’s rarely easy to get out of a bad situation, especially in a place like Chicago where it’s just easier to keep scraping by. I’ve known too many people there who stayed because they couldn’t afford to leave.
But getting out was best, and even with how bad things were with my sister, I know we wouldn’t have chosen to stay in Chicago (we likely would have done some other things different, don’t doubt). But then Joshwa got on with Wal-Mart. He has a sense of purpose that my Joshwa has never really had. He’s talking about going back to school for his business degree. Now, I’m sure we’ve all heard over the last few years that Wal-Mart isn’t a great place to work – and I can attest to the fact that it can be hard-working for Wal-Mart and their health coverage isn’t the greatest. But we have health insurance. In Chicago, even though Joshwa worked full-time, they wouldn’t give him the mythical “full-time” status that would allow us to qualify for health insurance. Could Wal-Mart be better? Of course. Will Joshwa make a career of Wal-Mart? That will depend mostly on Wal-Mart over the next several years. But he’s found his place in retail management, a place that he seems to genuinely enjoy (and he has strict instructions to let me know the moment that changes).
So my Joshwa is turning 28, two years shy of 30, and I can honestly say that he is doing something that makes him happy. He has a plan for the future that makes him happy. I am so proud of the man my husband has become and I count myself blessed to be able to look forward to watching him grow for the next several decades.
Happy birthday, my love.