I’m sitting on a plane about to take off for a conference in Florida. I’ve been traveling a lot lately, but at least this time I’m staying on the East Coast. My wife and I celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday. We did so in style, staying at a nice hotel on Friday followed by an over-the-top spa day which include an 80-minute couples massage. 80 minutes! That’s like a movie!
I’m not a nervous flyer by any means, but I do usually say a quick prayer before takeoff. I keep it simple; just give thanks, and ask for a safe flight. Why not show a little gratitude every once in a while? After all, I certainly have a lot to be grateful for. I’m grateful that the odds of this flight crashing are less than 1 in 11 million. I had to research that – I made sure to turn my laptop away from the lady sitting next to me before Googling “odds of plane crashing.” I’m grateful for the beautiful weather, and the fact that aside from a few sniffles my family is happy and healthy right now.
And I’m especially grateful that, despite the cramped seating, my back and my shoulders feel amazing after spending 80 minutes beneath the strong, capable hands of my masseur, Brian.
But mostly, I’m grateful for her:
I hope she knows.
I hope she knows that the reason I set the alarm so early in the morning is because if I didn’t I’d never get anything done. Because if her alarm goes off she’ll hit the snooze button, roll over and put her arm around me. Then my alarm will go off, I’ll hit the snooze button and put my arm around her. And then her alarm goes off again and the cycle continues for 9-minute intervals until one of our kids starts crying. And so I set my alarm early, because I know that none of my morning plans stand a chance against the prospect of holding her for a few more minutes.
I hope she knows that a few years ago, when she was crying about how she didn’t think she was going to be a good mom, the reason I didn’t cry with her wasn’t because I didn’t care. It was because I knew that if she treated our children half as well as she treated me our lives would be perfect so there was nothing to worry about. Turns out I was right on that one, not that I’m keeping score…
I hope she knows that a few years earlier, when we were sitting on the couch at St. Peters and she laughed at something on The Bachelor, only to turn and see me watching her instead of the screen… it was because I do that all the time. I love watching her laugh. I want to memorize what it looks like so I can take it with me wherever I go. I hope she knows that her laughter means everything to me. That I try to make her laugh when I don’t know what else to do. That she should always laugh – at the world, at our problems, at this clumsy boy who loves her so much.
I hope she knows that a few years earlier, when had that big fight early in our marriage, it was because it was always easier for me to start a fight than admit I was scared. Scared of failing her, of losing her. Scared that my tolerance for pain, doubt and chaos wouldn’t measure up during the bad times. Scared that I’d let those same feelings spoil the good times too, anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because it can’t be this good, right? I don’t deserve it.
And I hope she knows that a few minutes ago, when I said “I love you” before putting my phone into airplane mode, I didn’t just say it out of habit. I said it because I wanted to make sure it was the last thing she ever heard me say. And I wanted her to know that my thoughts in that moment were thoughts of gratitude, and that, like my prayers, they were simple:
I had her.
I had everything.
I hope she knows.