It is a universal truth that my husband is never allowed to take time off work.
Last month his boss canceled Jon's request to schedule an annual physical with the excuse "you're a young, healthy guy! You don't need a yearly check-up until after you turn 50!" Once my husband had to come into work while still retching from the stomach flu in order to help his boss insert a comma inside an Adobe InDesign document. In order to take two hours off to attend our baby's ultrasound, Jon had to make a draconian deal to work four extra hours on that same day!
Now my husband has five weeks of accrued vacation time, but I've really worried about the practically of him actually using this time to hold his newborn daughter this August.
Technically, it shouldn't matter if an employee uses his vacation time to a) take a two week European Grand Tour, or b) schedule a two week stay-cation with a child less than 12 minutes old. However, Jon's work is sort of "anti-family." Fellow employees make conversation regularly around the coffee pot with such cheerful comments as "I worked through all of my wife's three labors. Once I got an entire 45 page report finished in the delivery room." (When these helpful comments are repeated at my dining room table, I make not so Marian comments such as: "Maybe that's why that man is now divorced!")
So when the time came to submit his vacation request, my husband skipped over all sentimentality. He didn't write an email saying "please grant me two weeks vacation time starting on August 30th so that I can spend quality time gazing into my newborn's blue eyes." My husband wrote the cold, hard facts. "My wife is having surgery on August 30th. She will require my to help during her 2 week recovery time from said surgery. Please grant my vacation time request."
Jon hit send.
Fifteen minutes later, an amazing thing happened. His boss replied: "Yes." She then got up and immediately wrote his vacation time on the official office schedule. The man who was not allowed to attend his annual physical, who barely got time off to attend his Father's funeral, that exact same man suddenly found himself with TWO weeks of approved vacation time.
My husband immediately rose from his chair and ran to his boss's office.
What had happened?
When he got there, he found the same boss as yesterday- a 60+ year old lady with dozens of jangling bracelets who was divorced and had never had children herself.
However, this day, the boss was pro-baby.
After 10 years of infertility, her niece had gotten pregnant at the exact same time that her struggling musician husband finally landed a steady gig with--get this-- Lady Gaga's band.
The niece was over the moon about her new baby. The musician husband was over the moon about the new baby. Evidently, Lady Gaga was also over the moon about this special new baby as well.
Five minutes before my husband sent his email, the niece sent her aunt, Ms.Boss, a delightful email saying that Lady Gaga had generously agreed to send her husband home from a giant world tour in order to attend the birth of his first child. Ms. Boss thought that was so cute, that a Daddy would leave a World Tour in order to see his new baby. She was impressed that the famous Lady Gaga would spare a major part of her band, in order to help a new family bond together at birth.
So when my husband's cold, factual email arrived in Ms. Boss' inbox-- he hit upon a special moment. Ms. Boss now thought it was "cute" for Daddy's to long to attend their children's births. She wanted to match Lady Gaga in generosity. So she did what she had never done before, she immediately okay'd a vacation time request and placed it on the office calender without further comment or condition.
My husband came home and told me this story. I was in shock.
Now my husband is so out of the loop with the current music scene that he said "I think Lady Gaga is the name of a Broadway Play or something."
I almost feel off the couch laughing. "I haven't heard any of her songs either, honey, but I know Lady Gaga not the title of a Broadway Play. Lady Gaga is a rock star. Just this week she did something on American Idol that had all the Mama's on their Catholic blogs wagging their fingers."
I have still never listened to a Lady Gaga song. I've avoided looking at her videos. Even so, Lady Gaga has a special place in my heart. She's high up on my daily prayer list.
God can use anyone to do good. No one is beyond God's mercy, (even Lady Gaga and my husband's usually anti-child boss). Let us all pray that Lady Gaga gets reintroduced to the full wonders of her Catholic faith. She's been an instrument of God's grace to the Benjamin family during this latest pregnancy.