Perseverance with bursts of joy.
If someone were to ask me what being a parent or a spouse was about I would answer with the sentence above. It's about work, but it's a job in which no clock is punched, no annual reviews with scary upper management types who merely see you as a piece of paper with long winded self-empowerment words learned at another seminar. There are no chances for promotion, no one trying to leap over your rung on the corporate ladder, just people who you choose to spend your life protecting and thinking about ways to improve their lives.
Even as I watched my stillborn son's pictures with pats on the back of condolence, our lives crumbling beneath a blackness of bad luck and apathy, we pushed on.
Before the wonderful people who I call my dearest of friends scattered across the US, and soon-to-be invading the UK and Australia came into my life there was a void that they filled. They gave hope, they gave themselves up, naked on a computer screen with stories of divorce, heartbreak, and also laughter, joy, and triumph. They could gather together and out smart the monthly meeting of MENSA folks at the Holiday Inn off 494 and Plymouth Dr. or form a business with an army of lawyers, doctors, accountants, writers, marketing reps, and slimmed down news anchors.
And they still continue to do so up to and beyond today. As I have told many times in this space, my not-so-invisible "internet" friends inspired me to get off the couch and do something about my life. Change is the most difficult of human emotions to force oneself into, as it means breaking outside of that warm Snuggie and getting up to face the cold floor. It means pain, not a Brock Lesner right cross to the mid-section jolt of hurt, but perhaps trading a comfortable eight hours of sleep for four when a paper is due and the kids need help with their weekly spelling tests or enduring the blandness of financial statements.
Last night many of those folks stood virtually behind me as I won a bit of cash playing poker (ok, it was the most I've ever won online). This being a poker blog I should regal you with grand stories of check-raises and screenshots. But, instead I'd rather talk about someone who was checking in during the tourney while doing squats and arm curls, a guy who gave someone a chance to write and it changed his life even beyond the job itself, to friends who gave a cheer for that King to fall with four players left, and that in 11 more months (or sooner if there's hope) I'll be able to shake their hands and buy them a beer or a double SoCo with a water back.
Perseverance with burst of joy, you could say a poker player's biggest need is to push thru the bad days for one like last night, sometimes waiting years for a decent score. Since I had lived thru bad days, weeks, months, or even a yearrrrrrrrr (ok I'll stop the Friends theme song before you folks develop an earworm), coming out stronger on the other side has given me the drive to start school, start being a better parent, being a better spouse, and maybe someday I'll get around to shaping up again to run a 5K. I'm sure there are those reading this right now looking for a prop bet but it will have to wait a bit as learning tax codes and proper ledger entries comes first.
2011 has started off as 2010 left.