Monday, June 1, 2015

Why and How and Thank You Very Much

Over the last four years, I’ve shared stories with you of birth and death, sickness and health, not to mention bodily functions, birthday parties and bubbles. I’ve shared elated and somber, and all else in between, just as is the normal flow of life’s constant waterfall.

Why I’ve done this requires a twofold answer:

1)   To have a record of ups and downs that my boys will hopefully want to read some day to restore memories they were probably too young to hang onto.
2)   To scratch the left-brain itch that brought me from Ohio to Los Angeles 15+ years ago to become the TV writer I never became.

But how I’ve done it is a different story, and one I’ve never really talked about. It’s not that it’s a secret, but rather I must admit that it’s only recently that I’ve realized that I’ve taken this privilege for granted: every word I’ve published in the last four year has been possible due to one person, and she’s known around here as Mrs. Dude.

Today my wife Shana turned 40 years old. We were just kids when we met, if you consider 27 the tail end of adolescence. Now a dozen years, a couple kids, 5 homes and an incalculable amount of joy she’s brought me later, I want to present her with a small fraction in return.

When I’ve had deadlines she’s never blinked an eye while I’ve sequestered myself with my digital quill and ink until the task is complete. Oh, and those incredible conferences which have literally changed my life? My wife is the one who encourages me to go, despite my entirely-self-imposed guilt, even knowing how much extra work it means for her on days when I’m not home to get the boys fed and delivered to school on time in the morning, make dinner or get them bathed and bedded for several days in a row. Needless to say she carried and bore the two Junior Dudes, too, which are tasks obviously way out of my wheelhouse. 

And for all this, I say thank you, Shana.

Through nearly eight years of wedded bliss and stress, plus another four of dating/engaged trepidation, I’ve been beyond fortunate to have the world’s most calm and patient partner by my side. When I get frazzled about being late to a 3-year-old’s birthday party, she’s the one who restores logic to the equation and reminds me that no one will ever remember or care that we arrived 10/20/30 minutes late. Clearly this is an unintended side effect of marrying a math teacher.

I tend to be my own harshest critic and those moments when she returns me to earth often make me feel not only like I’ve just discovered an endless canteen while lost in the desert, but also that I didn’t know water even existed.

Though I know she’ll likely not see these words, given how hard she works at her full-time job, tutoring other kids on the side AND co-grooming two of the sweetest, yet most devilish, boys on earth, I felt compelled to share this for her, and for our boys, and for you to know how we all got where we are today.

It was legendary rock concert promoter Bill Graham who once said “They’re not the best at what they do. They’re the only ones that do what they do”, about pioneering jam band the Grateful Dead. Excelling at any chosen task is a challenge. Blazing a trail and doing things unlike they’ve ever been done before requires patience, vision and endless supplies of energy. I was beyond fortunate to hitch my wagon to someone who has off-the-charts levels of all three and who helps instill those traits in our family on a daily basis. For this, I am grateful and I trust that my boys will realize someday how lucky they are to have such an incredible mother and role model.

I’m even luckier to call her my wife.

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