Hello everyone...this is the first post of my trip. Internet and schedules have been quirky. However, on my layover in Germany I typed up a blog entry that I am finally uploading...sorry for the delay!
Saturday/Sunday, April 9th/10th...
Well, I am currently sitting in a McDonald’s in the Frankfurt airport in Germany. I am enjoying a fairly tasty McCafe Latte. I am by myself. This does not happen often.
Over the past 10.5 years of marriage, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I have discovered that I usually enjoy being a “bachelor” for about 24 hours. I can read about Notre Dame football for 10-11 hours (it is an unfortunate, yet blessed, addiction that has taken me to the highest and lowest of emotions.) I immerse myself in classic World War II movies and play the HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers, from episode 1 up through episode 10. Casablanca is a must because, well, it is Casablanaca. I paint little, tiny, minuscule army men and tanks for hours. This is often misunderstood as either self-inflicted torture or extreme nerdiness. For me, it is my wife’s equivalent of an all-day spa treatment complete with a cucumber covered facial.
But when I wake up the next day, my bachelorhood isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. It’s just not that fun anymore. First, I think about my wife. I think about how each and every day she makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. I am convinced that this laughter adds years to my life. I think about her passion that makes me consider what really matters in this life...God, family, and making a big difference from within the dangerous comfort of suburbia.
Then I think of Syrus, a.k.a., “the little buddy.” This is the first time I have been away from my son Syrus for such a long period of time. Before I left, I went to pick him up to tell him I was leaving. He was in the midst of chomping on a cheese quesadilla. He looked at me with a face that said, “What? Seriously? I’m eating here...” He then did his classic, dive-for-the floor move that means, “Put me down. Immediately.” It just made me laugh, like so many of the things Syrus does. I miss his unintelligible, yet absurdly loud, speeches to himself in the mirror. I miss that look of pride and joy in his face when he walks around (see some of my earlier Facebook videos.) And yes, I already miss his tantrums in which he flings himself to the ground as if the world has indeed, finally, come to an end.
I miss my students, who have been incredibly supportive of me even though I have been gone for so many weeks. It is not easy for me as a teacher to be away for this long. I care deeply for my students even though there are times when I am sure they think I only care about test scores (which is the farthest thing from the truth...) When I came back after our first trip and I walked into the classroom my students gave me the biggest smiles and hugs that were simply heartwarming. Additionally, their parents have been the same way...I don’t think they realize how much it means to me, my wife, Syrus, and, whether he knows it or not, the little boy I will be bringing home to West Chicago, Illinois.
Of course I miss my friends and colleagues at Wheaton Academy who have also been massively supportive through this small adventure. It has been ridiculous. Not once have I sensed a raised eyebrow of judgement from anyone...only genuine interest, prayer, and support. It is unfortunate that I can take for granted such a workplace that God has blessed me with for the past 14 years.
But as I sit here about to fall asleep on my keyboard thanks to extreme jetlag, at the start of a 10-day trip to Eastern Europe, I realize one thing that brings a smile to my face...it will only be about 24 hours more before I will be reconnected with my family again. I will be reconnected with my second son. It feels so weird yet so good to type those words. It fills me with peace and warmth to think that I will soon be watching him walk around in circles with the toy cell phone pressed to his ear. I start smiling when I think about the inevitable game of “chase me so that I can fall down so you can pick me up and set me down so we can do this all over again” game. Most of all, I can’t wait to have him walk over to me for the first time in 10 days, reach out his arms to have me hold him once again. This kid is great to hold. He simply rests his head on your shoulder and gently clings. I can’t wait until he raises that head back up and looks into my eyes while I look back into his. That moment of eye contact is incredibly profound for me. We are connecting somehow. It is slow, but sure. Our relationship is in the incredibly early stages, but when we look at each other, it is fascinating to feel that relationship grow.
To quote Kramer from the show Seinfeld, “Giddyup.” I’m coming to get you partner...you better be ready...