It's been a hot, dry summer, but yesterday was cool and wet.
There was a strange feeling in the house before Brent went to work in the morning. Right after early morning scripture study with the older kids, he read them a fresh email: Motorola/Google will be shutting down 1/3 of their sites. 4000+ lay-off-ees will be notified in the next two days.
Kid worries filled the air at the breakfast table...Will Motorola lay YOU off? Is that the same as firing? Will your work fire you, Dad? Will we have to move? Will I ever see Jennifer again? Will you have to give your phone back?
Brent and I combated their questions and reassured them that whatever happens...All is well. We love the Lord. He has guided us to where we are today. He will continue to guide us on whatever path is best for our family in the future.
Then Brent made his round of kisses and went off to work. Brent has survived many lay-offs over the years. But he had a different feeling about this one. I wondered if a salad and a peanut butter sandwich was good enough for a potential last Motorolan lunch. It wasn't very glamorous.
But then it didn't need to be. Brent's automatic "On my way home." chime sounded on my Droid Razr at 9:40 am. A few minutes later he called to confirm that this time his name was indeed on The List.
The kids were playing a game in the basement. MaryAnn was taking a nap.
So I sat on the front porch breathing in the rain...waiting to welcome Brent home...and embrace the man I love to have walking by my side through the ups and downs of life.
Endings are hard.
When the kids saw Dad home early with a big box in hand, the little ones scrambled to his side with excitement. But the big ones knew. "You lost your job Dad?" I preferred to hear the younger questions: "Did you bring us a present?" "Is that box the package they gave you?" (because we had explained a bit about severance packages during the breakfast table extravaganza).
We found treasures in the box...among books and important papers was lots of child art, one of Diggy's hand-crafted ships made of paper and duct tape, a tin of Motorola mints to evenly distribute, old Father's Day cards...
Thoughtful Allison, sensing the tender mood and knowing how sad it is to lose something, brought me a piece of paper and asked me to help her spell, "Dad...I am sorry you lost your job. Love, Allison." She then carefully transferred the message onto fancier paper...once for herself...and again for Cienna to sign.
From little people comes such big comfort.
After a day of not quite knowing what to do with ourselves, we held our usual Monday evening Family Night. It was Cienna's turn to say the prayer that would open the meeting. As a three-year-old, her prayers typically consist solely of just a few "I'm thankful fors..." Hearing her combine this with Kenny's solemn reminder to pray for Dad sounded something like this: "Dear Heavenly Father...We're thankful that Dad lost his job. We're thankful that Dad gets to stay home with us. We're thankful that Dad doesn't have to go to work anymore. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
We laughed. Then, with tears of joy, I shared how grateful I am for how hard Brent has worked to provide for our family for so many years. And how grateful I feel that we, since the beginning of our marriage, have listened to our church leaders' counsel to avoid debt, live within our means, and save for the future.
Besides our mortgage, we have no debt. We're frugal folks (looks like I won't have to go curtain shopping anytime soon...shucks). And for years, we've been tucking $$ away for a rainy day. So, it can rain and we can still provide for ourselves. All is well.
We said, "bittersweet" a lot yesterday. Change is in the air. And change can be good.
I will always remember that it rained yesterday.
It felt heavy and light at the same time...solemn and refreshing, uncertain and hopeful.
What beginnings will come because of this ending?