As my computer mouse hovered over the reservation button, these three words, “she deserves it,” crossed my mind. Frequently, I travel for work related activities and leave my wife at home with our three children who are four, five, and six years old. They are a very active little group, and when one of us is away, it can be overwhelming to keep up with their antics. I am aware of the challenges that come with solo parenting, and so when my wife's birthday came around, and I couldn't quite figure out the best gift, I thought about the many sacrifices she makes daily and when I am out of town to support our family. The cost for a reservation was not in our monthly budget, but as aforementioned, "she deserves it;" I clicked the button and reserved the room.
A couple of weeks ago, Gabriella casually said to me, “there is this new all-inclusive hotel and resort. It looks amazing. I would love to stay there, but it is expensive.” When I listened to her words, “I would love to stay there,” I paused from my work and took a mental note. Listening and not only hearing my wife, I believe has been critical to our successful relationship.
I met Gabriella 13 years ago when we were undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As African-American Studies’ majors we shared several classes, and through a mutual friend, we met. Over time our friendship developed into a romantic relationship, which lasted for five years before we decided to get married. It will be eight years of marriage in December that we will celebrate. In our time, together we have completed graduate level degrees, brought three amazing children into this world, worked together, moved out of the country, and started the process to build our dream lives.
Since our family moved from the United States to Mexico, I have had to travel more frequently for work and job leads. The temporary residential visa that I have does not allow me to work in Mexico. My income is from the work I do online and in-person education and business consultation jobs. We have been able to survive this relocation to a large part, because of Gabriella's infinite household contributions.
Every morning, Gabriella leads the charge to get the kids ready for school. With the kids’ clothes she carefully folded and placed on the couch the night before, she quickly gets the children dressed and prepared to go to school. She packs lunches, combs Vizuri’s hair much better than me, verifies all homework is complete, and guarantees that everyone has had something for breakfast. I help out in the mornings as well, but Gabriella takes leadership in the morning to make sure our children get off to school clean, fed, and prepared to do their best.
It's these seemingly mundane, yet important, daily tasks that reinforced my reason to purchase the weekend getaway. Yes, it was my wife's birthday, and most husbands try not to forget this day. However, I could have gone with something smaller, more within our monthly budget, but "she deserves it."
What's one thing that you can do for the special person in your life? It does not have to wait until a birthday. Any day that ends in "y" is good to show someone that you appreciate them in your life.