A thousand set of eyeballs stare at me. Two stare at her.
My words inspire laughter, hers tears.
When I’m done, I’m rewarded with a standing ovation. She’s rewarded with silence.
I hear: “Good job. Well done. Thank you.”
She hears: a ticking clock, a baby rustling, a lullaby singing.
Everyone wants to know what my wife, Annie, thinks of all my adventures and if she wants to come along. She doesn’t. We’re different like that.
I’ve been away for the past week and I miss Annie, who recently became a stay-at-home mom, and our kids. I can’t wait to pick up my daughter, Harper, and twirl her. She’ll ask about her promised surprise and I’ll reveal her new cowboy hat — her Texas cowboy hat. She’ll demand to ride her Fischer Price horse, Old Paint. But before we go to play, I’ll give my baby boy Griffin a kiss on both of his chubby cheeks and tell Annie, “I love you. I missed you.”
Over the past week I’ve traveled to three states to speak at five schools. Students often tell me that they want my job or, this is kind of embarrassing, that they want to be me. I love what I do. I’m honored to do it and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living, but the thing that gives me the most joy in life is my family. Most everybody has one.
I find normal to be spectacular and adventurous. Annie told me that Griffin just discovered his tongue while I was away. Everybody has one, but that doesn’t make an infant discovering his any less of a miracle.
Husbands have wives. Husbands and wives have kids. Mothers and fathers love their kids beyond all.
One-quarter of families have a stay-at-home mom. Theirs is the most important job in the world. The next time you are at a dinner party and a woman tells you she’s a stay-at-home, hug her. Congratulate her. Commend her. Act like she’s the most interesting person in the room because she is. She’s wonderful and selfless. She’s patient and beautiful. Start one of those inspiring slow claps. She deserves it.
Without Annie, I’d probably be on some deserted island teaching a lost tribe how to SCUBA dive. She’s given me focus, purpose, love, and a family. She gives me the freedom to do what I love to do, share it with the world, and still have normal.
She keeps my feet on the ground and I (like to think I) keep her head in the clouds.