As most of you know, our family is living abroad in Spain. Many things brought us to Spain, but truth be told, it started with me. I have very few regrets in life, but one is that I was never able to take a year abroad due to being a college athlete many years ago. The other was never having the opportunity to travel to Europe with my mom and dad. And so this opportunity to live abroad, and to be able share this experience as a family, is really the culmination of a lifelong dream for me.
Many people have asked about what it takes to make an adventure like this one happen. There are obviously lots of different components, but what it takes more than anything is an incredible spouse. There is nothing we’ve done as parents that has required us, as a couple, to summon a team effort like this one. It is just such a big undertaking, and Karen’s is the driving force that makes our family go. She has been willing to invest in a vision that is unconventional and go to incredible lengths to make it happen. The result of these efforts, has led to rewards for our family beyond what we could ever have conceived. It’s pretty remarkable, and we wouldn’t be here, couldn’t be here, without her support, drive, love, and buoyant spirit.
Today is Karen’s birthday, and she is taking it for the team again, as I am in London with Cassius to watch the hapless Cleveland Browns play the Minnesota Vikings. Why you may ask? No I am not here because I am from Cleveland or because I am a Browns fan – though I am both of those things. I am here because Karen always puts others before herself, because she constantly invests in dreams that aren’t necessarily her own, and because her heart has no limits when it comes to what she can do for someone else.
The commitment to go to this game was a longstanding promise to Cassius that was made before we knew the game fell on her birthday. Once we learned of the date, I thought we should reconsider, but Karen would have none of it. I tried to protest and convince Karen otherwise, but she was unwavering. “We can celebrate my birthday any day” she said “but you and Cassius can only go to the game on the 29th.”
Karen’s been making my dreams come true for two decades now, and so it seems that some things never change. It’s been a dream. And so, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to the girl of my dreams. To the love of my life, my best friend, and the woman who, as Dylan wrote, “can take the dark out of the night.” I love you.