When I met Joey 8 years ago, he was just starting his schooling at the community college in Corpus Christi. We got to know each other through the young adult Institute program at church. After the first conversation I had with him, I knew he was the one for me. I knew it immediately! He has a very special spirit. Anyone that has ever met him, knows this. He is the sweetest most likeable person I have ever met. I feel so blessed that he chose me to spend eternity with. Okay, enough with the mushy stuff:) We fell in love so fast-it was so fun! We were married after one year of dating, despite the fact that neither one of us were finished with school. We had barely even started. It was a huge leap of faith, but something we prayed about and knew was the right thing to do.
We had originally planned to wait a couple of years to have children so we could finish school, but felt really strongly just three months after our marriage that we were supposed to start our family. It certainly didn't seem like the logical thing to do. It hadn't been our original plan, but sometimes the Lord has a different plan for you than what you had originally thought. I remember thinking: How are we going to do this? How will Joey handle all of this? Will he ever finish school? How am I going to be a stay at home mom? But something kept telling me, it would all work out.
We were in an apartment and Joey worked in the warehouse for a cellular company. He still wasn't sure what he wanted to do career-wise. He is a talented photographer so we had talked about going to New York for him to attend RIT. However, that choice didn't feel like the right thing for us and our family. I have no doubt he would've been successful in that field. But as he continued to work in the warehouse, he became associated with the engineering manager for the cellular company he was working for, which was at the time, SOL communications. This company was later bought by Voicestream which is now T-Mobile.(T-Mobile rocks! If you use Verizon, I don't like you! :) Anyways, this friend, Brian McCann, saw Joey as what he is: a smart, hard-working and honest person that would be a huge asset to the engineering department. He is the one that helped Joey enter the engineering department for SOL without the degree that most people in the field have. This was nothing short of a miracle to us. The neat part about this is that we actually received the phonecall for his new job within SOL in the hospital the day Aubrey was born! That was, to us, a sign that we had made the right choice in our marriage to start our family so soon. We knew we were being taken care of. We purchased our first home andI was also able to be a stay-at-home-mom which is something that was really important to me.
During all of this, Joey was still going to school. He knew an education was important, even though it seemed impossible at times to finish. Since entering the engineeering department, he has quickly moved his way up(without a bachelors degree) but has continued working on his schooling this whole time. It would've been easy to say, oh, I've got a good job, I don' t need to finish school. But he didn't, he knew that having a degree was important. You never know what the future holds. He has juggled a demanding full time job, a family, two moves, switching schools which resulted in loss of credits, many demanding callings in the church(one of which was Young Men's President), even stake callings, and school for the past 7 years of our marriage. It has been a struggle to say the least. He has endured 7 years of going to work, coming home, eating dinner, spending as much time as he can with us and then doing homework until the late hours of the night. I honestly don't see how he did it and how he didn't give up. One thing I can say is that he has always put his family first. Not once did he ever turn away one of children that came into his office while he was studying, to show him something they've just colored. He never once told the children to be quiet while he was working, even on nights when I'm sure it may have made it hard to study with them chasing each other around the house and laughing so loud. I've even seen him holding one of the children on his lap while he was on the computer or rocking a baby to sleep. He's even let them "help" him with his homework:) He is the perfect daddy. And of course, the perfect husband...
All I can say is that I am married to an extraordinary man. Today is the end of this 7 year struggle. It is his last day of school! He will finally have his Bachelor's degree. He said the other day, "Its just a Bachelor's. Almost everyone already has a Bachelor's. Its not a big deal to most people. " But this is what I want to say to you Joey- This is a huge deal! Who cares what anyone else thinks? The amount of work that you have put into this has been extraordinary. This is not just a normal Bachelor's degree-you have been working and going to school with 3 kids! I have seen you working til 1am in the morning on school work, waking up at 6am to go to work and driving away and waving from your car to your two little daughters that are waving from the bedroom window. We have been so blessed with our precious children, your wonderful job and our beautiful home. Now you will finally have your degree!
I can't believe this day has finally come! I am so proud of you and that you perservered when times were tough. Today is seriously one of the best days of our married life. We will have so much more time together now. This heavy burden will finally be lifted off of your shoulders. Thank you for doing this. I know you did it because you love us. I know you did it for the security of our family. I love you.