Mike’s note: Since the market is closed today and Valentine’s Day was Friday, we wanted to share a touching essay from Jeff about his wife, Gabriela.

For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy your President’s Day… We’ll have a new Market Minute in your inbox Wednesday morning…

The lady looked exhausted.

She was pushing a double-stroller through the lobby of the Anaheim Marriott. There were no children in the stroller. Instead, it was loaded with a backpack, a diaper bag, and two zip-lock bags filled with an assortment of snacks.

The lady plopped down on one of the giant, overstuffed chairs in the lobby. And she closed her eyes…

Moments later, a four-year-old boy came marching through the lobby. He was pumping his arms in the air and chanting, “Dis-Nee-Land! Dis-Nee-Land!”

The boy was followed by his two-year-old brother. His little legs struggled to keep up as he mimicked his older brother by pumping his arms and chanting, “Di-Nee-Lan! Di-Nee-Lan!”

The exhausted woman’s eyes opened wide at the sight of her children marching towards her. She knelt, threw open her arms, and then enveloped her two sons as they crashed into her. She sat the little cherubs down on the giant, overstuffed chair. And, still kneeling, the mother told them stories of how they’ll spend the day.

“First we’ll go to the castle,” she said. “Then we’ll take a boat through all the countries of the world. Then we’ll get our pictures taken with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.”

Magically, all signs of exhaustion disappeared. The dark circles under her eyes were gone. Her droopy lips now smiled with excitement. And, she glowed.

I was fighting back tears as I watched this event unfold. That was 16 years ago.

The same thing played out this past Christmas.

Gabriela was exhausted from decorating the Christmas trees (we have four. Yes, it’s excessive, but it’s my wife’s favorite time of year. She can have ten trees for all I care).
She had decorated the house for Christmas. The stockings were hung. The tables were set. And, the trees were finally done.

Gaby plopped down on the giant, overstuffed couch in the living room. She was exhausted and was hoping to just close her eyes for a few minutes.

Then Grant and Carson walked in the front door. Grant came home from college. And, Carson has been so caught up in his senior activities at high school, we haven’t seen much of him over the past few weeks.

They might as well have been pumping their arms in the air and chanting for Disneyland.

Gaby opened her arms to them, and my sons crashed into her.

There is something miraculous about a mother’s love for her children. And, my wife is the epitome of that miracle.

Despite the understandable exhaustion of her daily routine, the stress over her many friends’ complicated lives, and the chronic complications of just being her, somehow, someway, she manages to smile.

She is Carson’s biggest cheerleader. And, she is Grant’s greatest fan.

My wife celebrated her 39th birthday for the 18th time a few weeks ago. She is as lovely today as she was the first time.

She has such a big heart. Every time I look at her, all I see is the memory of when we were in our twenties and we both volunteered together at the Bay Area Crisis Nursery. She told her story about Petunia, her fictional pet pig, to a handful of little girls. She was so animated, and so affectionate. And, I thought… “My goodness, that’s who I want to be the mother of my children.”

She got shortchanged on the deal. But I hit the jackpot.

We’ve had our struggles, for sure. But, there’s not one day that passes that I don’t thank the universe for helping me find my bride.

Gabriela probably doesn’t know that. I don’t say it nearly enough. But I do thank God every day for the day I met her. She changed my life for the better.

And I get to watch her every day when we deal with our sons. I get to see her exhaustion turn to excitement. I get to see her tell them all of the wonderful things they’ll get to experience. And, I get to witness her seeing the world through their eyes.

I am so very blessed.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Gabriela.

You amaze me.

Best regards and good trading,

Jeff Clark