A year ago,Mike and I sat across from each other eating at our favorite hamburger joint. Our discussion was heavy as we talked of serious and weighty things. In that moment I was reminded that the date was February 1st. The two year anniversary of Mike's major back surgery and spiraling forward of major life changes for our little family.
It seems almost unsettling and even ironic to think that on the third anniversary, Mike and I are enjoying the last day on a cruise, given to us as a thank you from a supplier we purchase from.
For various reasons, I have declined to write about the experience of the surgery and job change as a whole. And even though is still so much I can't and won't publicly share, I can't bear to not record such a big part of our personal history any longer.
In the days of January 2011 that led up to Mike's surgery, we had a lot of uncertainty about whether or not it was the right thing to do. It wasn't so much that we questioned if fixing Mike's broken (literally) back was the best option, but we knew the recovery would be long and arduous, and we weren't sure if the company he was working for at the time would accommodate such an ordeal. It was also very unsettling for both of us to think of "the man of the house" being bed-ridden for weeks. Not to mention, the $10,000 insurance deductible that was required.
As much as we seriously considered all of those factors, ultimately we knew Mike's back issues of 20+ years were beginning to take a serious toll on him. His quality of life was drastically decreasing.
Three years later, Mike's recovery from his surgery has been nothing short of miraculous. Rarely a day goes by that he doesn't comment on how it feels to no longer live in pain. His back surgery was not all that changed three years ago...
While Mike laid in bed for 23 of the 24 hours in each day that first month, it became apparent that he would no longer stay with the company he was working for. My husband, who at this point could not dress himself, nor lift a gallon of milk, decided he was going to quit his job and start anew. With plenty of hours to spare, and a laptop atop his stomach while he laid in bed, Mike began the process of starting his own company.
As I think back to those days when I spent hours sitting in the chair by the side of our bed, attempting to remain calm in the depths of life-changing events, I'm amazed I didn't crack under the pressure. Life was hard, and so very uncertain, yet somehow we kept forging forward.
We had very little money to our name, the high surgery deductible had wiped out any extra money we had floating about, and Mike's company chose not to compensate him with sick pay. Yet, we felt undoubtedly that starting a new company was the right thing to do.
In April of 2011, Mike moved into a nearby office complex. Let me correct that, Mike told me what to put where while Yours Truly pretty much single-handedly moved him into the office. (Remember he was recovering from surgery...) With strict doctor's instructions to not lift anything more than 5lbs for 6 months, Mike successfully began building a new landscape construction company.
My 2011 personal journal lists miracle after miracle that we witnessed in our lives that first year. Building a business and a family simultaneously hasn't been easy, but I think back to the specific conversation we had when it was time to name our company. The name of our company is Sinc Constructors Co. (Sinc stands for Sowby Incorporated.) When we were choosing the name, I felt strongly we should use the word construcTORS. I liked that it was in present tense (as opposed to construcTION) and I felt that it was somewhat symbolic of the progress we were making to build a family and a business.
Each family member has small roles within the company. Despite, me being the President and Owner, Mike does 99% of the work involved in running the operations. The other 1% is divided up unequally among the rest of our family.
I always make sure there is toilet paper in the bathroom and candy to put in a dish. Luke will occasionally go to job sites and outwork most of the other workers. Joshua and Drew always ensure that there is something for the office cleaner (Mike) to clean up. Ellie occasionally shreds paper or puts stamps on envelopes, and Megan uses the office copier to gift selfies of herself to family members.
All joking aside, as the calendar turns to the 3 year anniversary of Mike's surgery and the subsequent birth of Sinc Constructors, I am humbled and grateful and fully acknowledge God's hand in our life.
Our cup runneth over.