Layoffs, Love, and Life: Happy 15th Anniversary, Kip

Today is 15 wonderful years with my amazing, incredible husband, Kip. (If you want to know more about his story and ours, read last year's post.)

My husband has encouraged me from day one with every dream, hope, and frustration.  He has an amazing intellectual mind and a kind heart towards people.

But, I want to tell part of his amazing story right now because there are a lot of people in the US who are having a hard time right now.  It is “layoff time” again.

A little over five years a go, the Monday before Thanksgiving, my husband walked into his incredible civil engineering job of four years to find out that they were “right sizing” and he was on the wrong side of the size.

So, that Thanksgiving, we were thankful for our family, our home, and everything, and yet, we were heartbroken at the uncertainty — he had 12 weeks to find a new job.

Incredible people get laid off

I know amazing people who get laid off and my husband is the most amazing person I know.  We prayed and prayed on our knees and what we felt God was telling us was that “God never gives demotions, only promotions.”

So, we held to that.

It took the FULL twelve weeks to get on with another company.  Yes, he had TONS of offers to move to Atlanta or Tallahassee or other places to be an engineer, but he wanted to keep us in rural Georgia.  And trust me, in rural Georgia engineering jobs definitely don't grow on trees – pecans do!

So, he stuck to it.  He started with an incredible company down the road and during the last five years — he has been promoted SEVEN times.  He is now manager of engineering and reports to the plant manager. 

My husband has made himself an expert in LEAN manufacturing principles — and not just in the theories in actually making it work for the bottom line.  (Indeed so much of what he teaches me are things I apply in my own classroom — elimination of waste is a big one and he's the reason I DETEST wastebasket work.)

He is good at what he does.

What to do when hard times hit:  NEVER QUIT!
And yet, for all of the blessings of the past five years, if he had just given up like a sailor lost at sea and gone down — it wouldn't have happened.

There was a teetering, hopeless moment when he looked into his life and instead of choosing to see the abyss of despair, he saw the vacancy that would make room for future success.

I don't think I'll ever say that the best thing that happened to us was him getting laid off, however, it was FOR our best.  Kind of like pruning shrub.  The poor shrub looks dead but it is getting ready to grow like crazy.

Keep going
So, for those of you caught up in uncertain times, take hope.  And as we also again deal with the uncertain times in manufacturing and say “Oh dear, what if his plant closes?”  we again know that we are the the hands of the Great Engineer of life and will be able to make it through.

My Anniversary Wish

Honestly, there is not one thing I want for our anniversary except one thing.  I pray for my husband to last a long time with great health so that he and I can grow old together and hold hands in the nursing home and chase each other around in our walkers.

I really just want him.  That is it.  Because all of this other stuff is just stuff, but he is someone that cannot be replaced ever.  

He stuck by me when I was terribly sick when I was pregnant with all three of our kids, left a high paying job to be a stay at home mom, and left another great job to teach.  He encourages me to travel, meet people, and live my dreams.

And as I think of Kip, I honestly cannot think of any time he criticized me directly.  He has always been kind and loving to me — like a big tough bear gently holding a glass orb to the light.

To say I'm blessed is an understatement, but I also want to say this.

Love is a Choice
I think I love the stories of people who overcome horribly tough circumstances because I can say from experience that the toughest times of life do take a toll on marraiges.  During tough times, I'm not a Pollyanna laughing through the back yard — I get horribly down.  I'm crabby and kind of depressed.

And there were times, I know for a fact, Kip had to remember that he decided to love me, because when I was so terribly sick — I was NOT a lovely creature!

How does this relate to education and teaching?
I recall the chapter in Ken Medina's amazing book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Book & DVD) and how he talks about the negative impact that stress has on the brains of children.  He cites a marriage health program that has amazing results and talks about the positive impact on education that improving marriage and home stability would have.

When parental instability is in the home, the stress on children causes grade instability.  It just does.

I don't profess to be a part of a perfect home, but if there is something that I have learned it is this… love IS a decision if you're going to have a fifteen year anniversary.

I always say that I'm the luckiest woman in the world because I get to be married to my boyfriend! 

But I also teach my own children that most great things in life require a lot of hard work and persistence — and this includes marraige.

So, Happy Anniversary, Kip!
If I had been told fifteen years a go that I'd be writing something like this on a thing called a “blog” and that someone out there might actually read it, I would have laughed.

So, Kip, if you're reading this — the air conditioner man just fixed the air conditioner (so you won't be sleeping in 86 degree heat tonight), the knob for the washing machine just came in (so I can wash your clothes again), and I couldn't be prouder of any man on this planet that I am of you!

Don't bring me flowers… just bring me YOU!  Happy Anniversary!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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alicebarr July 31, 2008 - 8:53 pm

Happy anniversary kids! All the best…. I celebrated my 20th yesterday… hard to believe but it’s been a great ride. Here’s to many more with your boyfriend!

Alfred Thompson July 31, 2008 - 9:07 pm

Congrats to the both of you. I wish you both many more happy years together.

It is so important when spouses support each other when they have needs, dreams, goals and what not even when those things do not seem practical. My wife was supportive when I went into teaching (about a 70% cut in pay that first year) and then again when I went back to industry a few years ago and it made all the difference. It’s been 31 years for us but its better than ever.

Paul R. Wood July 31, 2008 - 9:22 pm

Beautiful story. Congratulations to you both. May you have many more.

christa July 31, 2008 - 9:53 pm

An amazing tribute to Kip, to “for better or for worse,” and to all that a marriage can be. I couldn’t make it through without a Kleenex!

Brenda July 31, 2008 - 11:23 pm

This beautiful entry keeps me smiling! Our relationships really do serve as ballast in so many life situations. It’s nice to see passion for home and work modeled by one of the educators I follow. Thanks for this lovely entry.

loonyhiker July 31, 2008 - 11:32 pm

Happy Anniversary! This was such a sweet romantic post! I think God has things happen for a reason and sometimes we don’t always see the reason until much later. I’m glad that God let you find each other! May you have many more happy years together!

Ms. Mize August 1, 2008 - 1:02 am

Thank you for sharing this article! It is inspirational. I always enjoy hearing testimonies because they are very encouraging. Happy Aniversary!

Cheryl Oakes July 31, 2008 - 9:47 pm

Happy Anniversary to you both! The hard work pays off and you both have a great family. Glad to have shared a riverboat ride with you in San Antonio.

Scott August 1, 2008 - 3:19 am

A VERY inspirational post, indeed. In Kentucky many, many teachers are getting laid off(myself included), due to reduced funding from the state. And it wasn’t until recently that God let me in his plan to remove me from a job that I was less than passionate about to what looks like a “dream job” teaching technology at a middle school. Looking back, it all makes so much more sense than it did while it was happening.

Frieda F July 31, 2008 - 11:55 pm

Congratulations on your anniversary! Your post was very sweet, and it reminded me of all the reasons I appreciate my own husband. We’ve been married for 28 years, and our youngest child is getting ready to go off to college!

Gina Webster August 1, 2008 - 4:01 am

What a beautiful post! Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story. Your willingness to express these feelings and experiences will help countless others who face the same issues and circumstances.

BarkingDogShoes August 1, 2008 - 4:17 am

I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog tonight. This is a beautiful entry. My husband is my best friend too–we’re going on 18 years. I just subscribed so I can keep up on what’s going on in today’s classroom (former teacher turned WAHM).

vcautin August 1, 2008 - 5:58 am

Happy Anniversary! and my best wishes for all of you going through lay offs. I hope you find something soon.

Some trivia:
In Chile, lay off time for teachers is the week between Christmas and New Year :S

Karyn Romeis August 1, 2008 - 7:29 am

A pea a knee verse hairy (read it quickly… out loud)!

It was our 20th earlier this year and, to celebrate, we spent 3 weeks in South Africa with family and friends. It was wonderful.

As you say – stuff is stuff, but people, well… they’re what it’s about. When people ask me if I miss South Africa, I say, “I can live without the beautiful landscape, I can live without the weather, but oh, those people! Living without them day to day is TOUGH!”

At least, like you I have my friend and lover by my side.

Nancy Pratt August 1, 2008 - 6:06 pm

Hi Vicki,

So sweet. I appreciate the reminder that our love is everything. Having gone through tough times and looking back with those behind us, my husband and I celebrated 22 years this May. Just amazing. And it does keep getting better. I love your message about the AC and the Knob. That is all part of our lives, and the realities of what we are and who we are as couples. But as we negotiate our way through the journey, it is the love that sustains. Thanks for the reminder!

Britt Watwood August 1, 2008 - 6:51 pm

As someone else said, Happy Anniversary, kids! My wife and I just celebrated 36 years, but I immediately called her when I read your line about growing old together and chasing each other with walkers…and she loved it as much as I did!!!

Here is to many, many, many more years together!

IMC Guy August 4, 2008 - 8:05 am

Congrats! I think it’s wonderful to hear the support you give each other. A close friend of ours just got downsized as well. I’ll share your encouragement.

the changing brain August 7, 2008 - 1:55 am

What a beautiful post! It’s a tough balance to blend the personal with the professional in the blogosphere, but your entry is precisely why the “personal” part is so inspiring. Learning must be personal. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

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