Today marks my wife's and my 10-year wedding anniversary. Each year, I try to come up with something better than I said the last year. This year, it's about perspective.
My wife is my guide. Whenever I'm not sure of what I should do in a given situation, I try to think about what she would do. Sometimes I don't do what she would do, but I have come to believe that I almost always know what she would do. We've had health scares in the past ten years, the worst being when she developed a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms have killed a lot of people, more than you're probably aware of. They usually get diagnosed post-mortem, so we know we were lucky. And thinking on how I would raise Sera without her, I know that I would be a better father to her because I know how Magi thinks. Even now, my reactions to things that Sera does are tempered because my first thought, as is natural, is how I was treated as a child. And I almost always override my initial instinct before my mouth opens. It would be the same even if she wasn't there. Her presence is that powerful.
She's with me at work, even though we work in separate buildings, a few miles apart. We always exchange emails during the day, and it's a comfort knowing that she's going to be able to answer any question within an hour, at any time. She teaches business at the high school that my middle school feeds, and I know that if I don't do my job correctly, it will make her job harder.
Even when I go out with my friends, we often hang out at Border's in Mishawaka, where Magi worked when she first moved here so long ago. It's impossible to even look at the cafe without thinking of her there, and all the time I spent just hanging out at the bookstore because she was at work while I was not.
Books that I read and music that I listen to will remind me of her, as well. I will always think of my favorite author, Pat Conroy, as her influence. I read Gone with the Wind while shuttling her back and forth to Goshen College while she finished up her teaching requirements. I would listen to a Journey CD that she brought while waiting outside her classroom. One of the songs from that CD became the song that we would dance to at our wedding reception.
It's funny how morbid these thoughts sound when I read them back. It's almost like a eulogy or something. But it's better, I think, to measure the effect that someone has had on your life while they're alive. The problem is that there's no adequate measure for how my wife has changed my life. She makes me a better teacher, a better father, and a better man. I can only hope that someday, I'm good enough to deserve her.