Often during the Christmas season, as the crowds mount, and credit cards fly we lose focus on what this season is
supposed to be about. It turns into a gift card swapping, credit card debt building, meaningless holiday where we are bombarded with black Friday, cyber Monday, and nonstop images of commercialized Christmas. At its heart, at its core, it’s supposed to be a celebration of giving, a celebration of love. It’s supposed to be a time to look around and say thank-you to the people around us. To show them how much they mean to us, how much they make our life what it is. How good I have it has never been lost on me but it became crystal clear recently.
During the months of September and October I became very ill. I had a total of 3 kidney stones, six separate trips to the emergency room, two operations, and many moments of feeling dismally low. I felt useless, pathetic, and lost. I couldn’t help with my two amazing children, I couldn’t teach, simple tasks became difficult, and so much fell on my wife, Mandi.
I have often told her that I do not have the words to express what she means to me. I tell her I love her more than she can possibly understand that I can’t imagine my life without her. She is my everything. And it still doesn’t seem to be enough. But now I know more than ever how blessed I am.
During the last two months she just was amazing. She took on both our roles of Dad and Mom; she let me lean on her when I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to teaching and how scared I was to lose such huge part of who I am. When I would break down she lifted me up and reminded me that no matter what we would be okay. That we were in this together. She never made me feel guilty for being sick, or got angry for having to do everything. She would smile at me with a smile that made me fall in love with her so long ago, crack jokes to lighten the mood, and got me moving when I needed to get my butt out of the house.
Nine years ago we started our lives together. Our silly crazy, often sitcom like life and it has been such an
incredible trip, and I wouldn’t trade spots with anyone. More than anything this Christmas I want her to know how grateful I am. I’m not rich, not athletic, or flashy. I can’t dance, or sing, or play an instrument. However knowing she is by my side makes me feel like I can conquer any problem. Her strength carries me and makes me feel strong. The love she shows to her family, especially our children makes me love her even more. She is my rock, and my heart is hers for as long as she’ll take it.