As I sit behind my Dell computer to type this blog, Rascal Flats lyrics suddenly flood my mind, “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.” Just as quickly as the lyrics appear in the back of my mind, I innately take it as a sign to share the proceeding blog dedicated to my beautiful wife, Andrea. Thank you for eleven years of marriage. Thank you for my beautiful family. Thank you for sharing this journey called life with me.
Soap suds cover Gabriel’s tiny body. “Wow, Gabriel is only two and is completely in love with his mother,” I remember thinking as Gabriel shares giggles with his mother. It is bath time. As most parents know, bath time can either be a stressful situation filled with screams and tears, or on occasion, a pleasurable experience between parent and child. This summer night though, God graced me with a tender moment. Lavender suds, squeaky ducks and trucks, rubber letters and numbers cover the bath tub as Gabriel stretches out for his mother. Gabriel grins. His smile is accentuated by an impeccably placed dimple. His honey-colored eyes radiate the subtle combination of innocence, vulnerability and love that only a child can exude. At this precise moment it all makes sense to me. Time stands still. This moment is a picture. My soul wonders off to the past and ruminates. It hits me. A lightbulb goes off. My son looks up to his mother with the same reverence and love as I have toward my own mother. This indelible moment leaves me humbled as I hold back the tears and shake off goose bumps (read Grounded).
At this precise moment I recall the many fights, tears, nightmares, moments of hiding below beds to avoid my drunken father, and endless prayers to God for a perfect family. My childhood was far from picture perfect. I witnessed my mother beaten against a tree, kicked and punched, choked and strangled, bruised and bloody by the hands of men. Despite the shitty men in our lives my mother remained selflessly committed to giving her children only the best. I revisit the dark valleys of childhood that extended to my teenage years. My years in middle and high school were scared by depraved acts by the hands of a man. As I learned from my mother as a child, I learned to cleverly mask behind my smile. The love my mother gave me, the guidance He provided, this broken road led me straight to Andrea.
At this precise moment I remember the summer of July 1999. After I graduated high school I was committed to leave my hometown, finish my job at HEB, and start my college life with no ties. God had a different plan. That summer of 1999 God ushered Andrea into my life. I was thrown off course; however, for the first time in my life I was excited. Something inside me changed. Admittedly I did not recognize it at the time, but I know now, my soul had met his mate. Just like an Angel tasked to provide guidance, Andrea was there as I professionally and spiritually resolved my inner demons throughout college, marriage, fatherhood and even a vital played a role in reacquainting me with God and Spirit.
At this precise moment bath time becomes a divine classroom. My son’s eyes evoke a beautiful journey of darkness and light. The Master Author can only script such juxtaposition of present and past, of love and fear, of wife and mother and son and deliver it in a way that I process the lesson in a matter of seconds. The soap suds that cover his chin, the lavender smell that conceals the pesty mold on the hard-to-reach corners, and the humidity that suffocates my nostrils form a divine backdrop as I learned His lesson, “Andrea is my mother to my son. Love your wife as you love your mother. You are in the perfect family you yearned and prayed for as a child. Just as you remember how your father treated your mother, your son will recall how you treat his mother.” Time resumes. I quietly turn away as to not interrupt this awesome, innocent mother-son bath time. At this precise moment I.LOVE.BATH.TIME and I am #BeyondThankful