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Springfield, Missouri 65807
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At this time, my wife, Elisa, is currently on a 15-day mission trip to Uganda and Ethiopia. While she is away, I am taking some vacation time to stay home with the kids. I must say I am handling my duties pretty well, considering the house is still standing! During this time, it has made me think about things—about how when Elisa gets back, I plan on showering her with love, and affection, and maybe a gift or two. It’s not just because I miss her, but because I forget exactly how much work it is to run a household with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old roaming the halls. This made me realize that we husbands tend to get too comfortable with ourselves from time to time.

We guys (as in I), tend to forget that it is A LOT of work. It’s all about running this child to a doctor's appointment, running that child to swimming lessons, then to soccer practice, or a play group, getting all the meals and snacks prepared, putting the house back together after a day's worth of playing, clean ups, baths, bedtime stories, bed, assuring them nothing is under the bed to get them back to sleep, and pressing the repeat button in the morning. It’s all this and sometimes doing so without getting anything done for yourself. Now I know that my wife is a Superwoman in her own right, and she is awesomely great at what she does as a stay-at-home-mom, but getting the hands-on-experience (in her absence) has opened my eyes even wider than before. That said, I now have a better understanding of how things are when I would normally be returning home from work—and those things are my own assumptions.

I used to joke to her about "living" on Facebook, and checking emails in the evening most nights after dinner. This is sort of a light-hearted complaint I hear from several husbands quite often. Well now, seeing the full-on routine of the day, and seeing that my kids have only two speeds: “pedal-to-the-metal” and “sleep mode,” there is absolutely no time to sit in front of a computer during the day!! Now I understand why she runs to check her accounts when I get home, because that is really her first opportunity to catch up on things. So for that, I now feel silly, and apologize for thinking in my own head that things were not as they seemed.

In short, I just want to tell her THANK YOU for all that she does and that I do indeed appreciate her. I also have a whole new appreciation for single parents . . . for those of you out there, I applaud you for all that you do. This is a complicated enough job with two people involved, so I just can't imagine juggling the house, the kids’ needs and work by myself permanently. I just can't begin to fathom it. Here, very soon, I will be celebrating my wife's arrival back home! You can believe that I will be showing my appreciation!

Brandon is a Texas native who is on active duty in the U.S. Navy, currently stationed in Springfield, MO. He is the father of Miles, 6, and Marley, 22 months. He and his wife Elisa have been married over 10 years.

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At breakfast, at least once a week or more, he queried us on new vocabulary words often from the Reader's Digest "Word Power" section, asking us if we knew what they meant. "Use them," he said, "and they will be yours."

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Bright Blue Shoes and Character Ed


"I can spend my back-to-school money however I want?" questioned our soon-to-be in 8th grade son.

"As long as you spend it on school clothes and supplies," I replied. "That's what it's for, but you can choose how to divvy it up. Remember, though, when it's gone, that's all you're getting from us."

"No problem," he assured me confidently, "I know what I want."

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