I pulled back his shoulders, lifted that sad chin to look me in the eyes which met mine and silently said: We'll be okay.
So we went out to celebrate and strategize.
It hasn't been the easiest journey. In the six years we have been together, it's been either him or I trying to figure our shit out. He left the restaurant industry and hit the road for his sales job when we first met. I tried to commute from Markham to Waterloo everyday for work. That quickly fizzled out and I attempted a job at our new home in the KW area. I hated every minute of the catty women, the demands of a role that definitely did not encompass the work life balance it promised and the office politics. I hated the feeling every night before bed of having to pick out my outfit, pack a lunch and be under someone else's command. I hated watching the clock when my lunch break was over and I hated watching the clock just as feverishly, waiting for the day to end.
Michael on the other hand never complained. He got up every day, dressed, changed his voicemail and went to work. Every day. And smiled while doing so. His pay cheque supported us when I quit my job, went on E.I., found another job, quit, applied for a grant for my business and during the first year as a starving new entrepreneur.
When he was let go, he stepped it up and helped me with my photography and his food blog. I wasn't always as kind to him as he was to me when I was trying to figure things out. Money makes people stressed and is the number one reason people split up...or so Gail Vaz-Oxlade says.
One day, I was sitting with my mom having lunch at a Burlington Fortinos. We were watching the man behind the pizza counter chop fresh vegetables and chat with the customers. We commented that this would be a job Michael would do amazing at. Everything is fresh, gourmet ingredients such as fig jam and truffle oil, and it would keep him off the road. I hated him driving for a living. I always worried...especially in the winter. I freaked out when he called me from Owen Sound one winter Tuesday and said that his car was crushed from hitting a deer. His company treated their staff like garbage. Not even so much as a Christmas card. Ever. And they fired him in the middle of a busy Starbucks. Classy.
There was never a gas card or mileage. The car repairs kept adding up. It just was not worth it. I thought about packing it in and heading back to an office. I applied to several and nobody called me. I just couldn't help wondering how the industry had changed that much? I was always able to get a job. I'd go for interviews just for fun and to keep on top of the business trends. I really didn't think Michael was trying his hardest when they wouldn't call him back. And then I got to wondering.
Would he REALLY flourish creatively selling Waste Management services? My favourite is, during the interview process when the panel asked what it was that made him so passionate about working for them? Duhhhhh. I'm really super excited about garbage and the smell of it. It makes me happy. Said no man ever. And did I really want to give up my dream and go back for working for the (wo)man?
Like come on.
So it may not come with a BMW or expense account. It may not have a fancy title. But he starts his new role at Fortinos tomorrow. They are excited to add him to a new store which focuses on the gourmet side of food. They asked about his input towards the recipes and ingredients and food trends. They are willing to give him weekends off so he can shoot weddings. And if we're really lucky, they'll be a few cashiers wearing engagement rings and in need of a wedding photographer.
I just might have one for them.
Congratulations to my husband. You may not think it's the most glamorous job in the world. But at least you're doing something that you're passionate about. I never once heard you get excited about flooring sales and grout. But I certainly saw an extra bounce in your step today when you came home from your interview. I heard, albeit faintly, a slight increase in decibel in your voice when talking about the people, the food and the store. And like anything in life, you need to align yourself with people/things/ideas that make you happy and that reflect you. And almost as if by osmosis, you'll find yourself doing what you're meant to do. Even if this is just the stepping stone.
Recently at a wedding, a girl came up to me and wanted to meet me. She was enthralled by my photography and blog and wanted to tell me. You sat along the sidelines and smiled. Then you pulled me aside and whispered to me: I'm so proud of you. When I asked why, you told me it was because I quit something that I did not like and turned my entire life around to do something that I love, and get paid well for it. Sometimes we find ourselves in exotic places with fabulous people taking photos of lovely things and we remind ourselves just how lucky we are. But sometimes, I forget to tell the person who stands by my side no matter what, just how indeed lucky I am.
Cheers to you. And now after six years, we finally have a song.
It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making two reflections into one