My suitcase feels heavier each time I travel. It isn’t, as I always watch with a hollow gaze, as it’s weighed as I receive my boarding pass. It wasn’t always this way…
As I ride the shuttle bus to the airport, I slip away to inside the distractions of my earbuds. Sometimes it’s Sweet Caroline, other times, Shipping up to Boston. Almost always though, it takes me to the same place every single time; the height of my happiness.
This is the 15th time I’ve flown to Thunder Bay. It’s cold, desolate, and depressing. Outside the city is beautiful, but somehow I keep getting trapped inside a state of sadness. I’ve lost count along the way, but I’ve missed at least 7 birthdays, 2 anniversaries, 2 Father’s days, and this will now be 2 Mother’s Days. I’ve missed game winning goals, school plays, and moments when my son needed a hug.
There is one person who hasn’t missed a step though. My wife.
The days blend up here. We don’t recognize days by Mondays or Tuesdays, but rather, by a countdown of 20, 19, 18…..until we get to the magic number of 1; fly home day. I get so caught up planning what I need to do before I get home, I tend to forget the most important thing; what I get to come home to.
For those who don’t know, we have a split family. My wife has 3 kids from her previous relationship, and I have a son, who although the apple of my eye, is a handful at times. I obtained sole custody of him almost 10 years ago, and as his mother disappeared, he’s had my wife to call mom for many years now.
I can’t say enough about the strength of this woman. She is my rock when I want to give up. She keeps me going when all I want to do is avoid reality. She’s there to give me her ear when I need to vent. She has spent too many years preparing these beautiful children, by herself, to becoming successful young people. The problem is, while we get caught up on the realities of dealing with daily emotions of life, I simply forget to remind her how lucky I am to have her.
I’ve never met a more selfless person than her. She never complains when the kids are sick in the middle of the night, or when she’s spending 4 nights a week at a rink in the dead of winter, or even when I’m in a terrible mood after a day of work. She has taught me the importance of understanding and compassion in a world of negativity. She assures me every single time that I leave to board a plane, to not worry, because she can hold down the fort. Above all else, she dedicates her life to making sure others around her are happy.
When we flew to Boston last year, I heard the faint hum of Shipping up to Boston as soon as we stepped foot in Fenway Park. She and I belted out Sweet Caroline on top of the Green Monster. It was, in that moment of terrible singing that I knew the woman of my dreams was by my side. With her help, her steadiness, I was able to realize my dream, and stand in the stadium I’ve dreamed about visiting my entire life. Pretty impressive considering she came as my best friend, and left as a baseball fan as well.
I’m honored to share my life with her, proud to shape young minds with her, and excited to spend my life with the most amazing mother I’ve ever known.
Happy Mother’s Day Jess. I love you.