14 years ago this morning, very early this morning, I boarded a plane in Nashville, TN with a girl I had been dating for about 20 minutes. Actually, it was a little longer than that - 4 months - but when I tell people our story they always give me a you-only-dated-her-20-minutes like look. Anyways, I boarded a plane bound for the Virgin Islands to marry a girl I had dated for 20 minutes. And that's what we did. We got married.
There have been a lot of 20 minutes since that day. I'm grateful for every one of them. Katie and I are not perfect for each other. I don't believe any couple is. But my wife has been perfect in her patience with my many flaws. She has been perfect in her commitment to caring for our family. Getting to witness the love that comes out of her as she does so makes me grateful that we aren't perfect for each other.
I've said it before. I'll say it every year around this time. The greatest surprise I've had about my wife is discovering what an amazing mom she is. I say surprise because, one, we never thought we'd want kids. Surprise. And two, as a child you don't get an in depth view of what your mom goes through to be a mom. As a husband and father, though, you get a front row seat. And wow, what a breathtaking view I've had.
I've watched Katie work long hours this past year. Up early in the morning, then grading papers and preparing the next day's lessons late into every night. Yet, the two people in our house who are least aware of that are our boys. In spite of her workload, she has continued to find time to read with them, play games with them, watch shooting stars and space stations with them. She has wiped their tears and their noses, many times in the middle of the night. Through it all she has carried the face she's carried since both of their birthdays - the face of a mom in love with her kids.
I often say the biggest challenge facing our country is absent fathers. I feel for the kids who don't have a dad in their life. But I feel equally bad for the dads out there who aren't blessed with sharing the kind of life I share with my wife, the ones who never get to sit in the front row of the show that is a mom in love with her kids and her husband.
I thank God he slid a ticket my way. I'm thankful for a wife who makes sure the show never gets old.