Back to School

This post is not really about me, but it has affected my life so much that I feel it’s worth a mention. I described in the post Living to Work how my husband’s long-term unemployment was affecting his mood and our relationship. Well, this continued for two and a half years, until after our second daughter was born. At the time of her birth, he was working in a patisserie (for six months which he was never paid for) and that’s when he made the decision to retrain as a chef.

When I first met him, the only thing he could cook was frozen pizza. But he taught himself by reading books and online recipes (and watching lots of Jamie Oliver!) Before we were even married, he was a pretty mean cook. And he loved it. He was more enthusiastic about cooking than he had ever been about his studies, his job, or even his darn computer games. It really was his passion.

So he decided to go back to school to train as a chef. And that changed everything. It gave him a purpose, it fuelled his passion for cooking, it engaged him and brought him back to himself. The way he used to be, before he was unemployed. And it impressed me that he found the courage to do it – to walk into a classroom of people more than ten years younger than him and learn everything from scratch. He was finally being proactive. Even in the midst of my depression, when every day was grey, I felt proud.

His decision has changed his character, our financial situation and the dynamic of of this family. No more do I fear the question, “What does your partner do?” or, worse, to my daughters, “What does your daddy do?” There is no longer the horrible imbalance of me doing everything for this family – which hurt him, made me resentful, and showed our kids a skewed picture of the world. I am thrilled to see him working so hard at a job he loves, and I believe in him: I think he has started on the path to doing some amazing things.

Other people see the long hours, the time away from his kids, the whole summer spent and away from his family. I see a man who has followed his dream, a guy who has beaten his own demons and, when he is home, is present for his children. I see two girls who know what their father does for a living, and a wife who knows the value of this gift.

My only regret, as I’ve said before, was that he had to make this journey alone because I was too wrapped up in my own misery to understand what he was going through. But at least I was there at the finish line, cheering him on. And I’m definitely sticking around to see what happens next.

Image from Pixabay.