I want to tell you something about my husband Andy. It’s something I know he will not tell you himself. No, he is a very humble kind of person and I know he would feel self-conscious if he knew what I was about to reveal. He’d give you one of his warm and attractive smiles before looking at his shoes, and shrugging it all off. Should a wife embarrass a husband? Probably not but Andy will never know: he never reads my blog.
My husband Andy, who went back to university at the age of 47, to do a Masters of Teaching degree, has won a Dean’s Medal.
Now isn’t that wonderful? This means Andy finished in the top 2% of students at UWS in 2010.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that Andy was made redundant two years ago. I told his story in Changing Direction with St Joseph’s Help. For 26 years, he worked in sales and marketing and then one day… he had no job to go to. I remember meeting Andy at the train station as he returned from his last day at work. He was ambling along the platform, swinging his empty briefcase, one man among the many returning-from-the-city women shoppers. And even though he had a smile on his face when he greeted me, I felt very sad. Andy had worked so hard and then one day he was cast aside: no thanks, no farewells, no speeches or gifts. He was a man without a job, a man who’d lost his place in society. And so it is for all those who face redundancy.
Maybe you know Andy applied to do a Masters of Teaching and now, two years later, he has a whole new career ahead of him. He is a primary school teacher and we thank God (and St Joseph) every day for his rewarding and satisfying work.
Now it seems to me that there is an unwritten law that you can’t, at least in public, be your husband’s number one fan. This is sad. But because this is my blog, I am going to totally ignore that rule.
I am one proud wife.
Shortly, before Andy finished his course, last year, I went to the university with him. We walked through the gates and I felt like an alien. There I was, one middle aged woman among hundreds of trendily dressed young students. I felt so out of place. I thought back to when I did my undergraduate degree many years ago. Things have changed since then. Or perhaps I have just got older. We sat in the coffee shop and, unlike me, Andy was relaxed and looked like he belonged. And I thought about how difficult it must have been to go back to university as a mature age student, to make friends, to compete with much younger people, to learn new ways of learning, to find his place… and how Andy had done all this.
Do you ever get proud feelings about your family? Sometimes I bask in the reflected glory of my children. They sing and play the piano and I can’t. So it seems rather miraculous to me that my children excel at these endeavours.
“You sang so well, Callum. I was really proud of you!”
“I know Mum. You had that silly grin on your face all the time I was singing!”
He was right. I can sometimes be a silly proud mother. I try not to be. I don’t want to be one of those boring type people who think their children are the best in the world, and what a great mother I must be to have such children.
But Andy’s achievements, they have nothing to do with me, so I can sing about them loud and long. In fact Andy gained his degree and high marks despite me.
Oh how I used to complain about the piles and piles of books and papers that took over our bedroom. I remember the day Andy inadvertently said, “I left it in my office. Whoops! I mean it’s in our bedroom.” I glared at him and he cleared a few books away and uncovered the bed and tried to make the room look as if it belonged to both of us.
And then I often complained about the long hours he spent studying. Even when he was physically home, sitting in front of his computer, he was mentally far away. “When are you going to have time for me?” I moaned again and again, even though I knew he was doing his best to juggle family and study.
I wish I’d done better.
But you, Andy: you couldn’t have done better. You are a Dean Medallist of a husband and I am very proud.