I came across a pair of house-boots the other day. My wife’s in fact. They were worn but sturdy. They were familiar yet imposing. They instantly conjured up vivid images of my time in the military. Weathered and beaten jump-boots, rack-side by a sleeping marine. Sturdy, slip-proof, and steel-toed boondockers, bunk-side by a sleeping sailor. Or most vividly, the spit-shined and tightly laced, bloused and ready to roll, combat boots of a sentry without distraction.
Here they were, right outside the door of our 1-year-old son. Brown, fuzzy on the inside, worn ragged but sturdy as fresh leather, covered in dog hair and the permanent crumbs of family life. Here they were, ready to roll. The door to my son’s room is, in fact, his mother’s post.
This is not the view I have always had of my wife’s house-boots. The bottoms of these boots are an impressive 1-inch-thick indestructible alien plastic, capable of untold damage to the male leg. I have the scars to prove it. On the couch when my wife falls asleep, her legs will migrate towards me and carry her sleep strength to my kneecap. Somehow it finds its way and just pushes.
Standing anywhere in the house, my wife will come in for a hug and her boots will find whatever my most vulnerable toe is that day, and crush it. In bed, in the middle of the night (yes, she sleeps in her house boots,) her legs will decide to go for a long walk. In this instance it’s important to note that the edge of these boots is like a hockey skate. That edge will find my shin, just under my knee, and it will shave downward as if cutting government cheese. All this to say, that I love these boots, and the day I saw them stationed outside my son’s room, I had never respected them more.
I am a father of 4. Saying that fills me with true pride. Three of those four children are from my first marriage. With my wife’s unwavering and sacrificial support, I have fought hard for my parental rights and time with those precious children. My wife has fought that fight with me. My wife and I fought long and hard to bring our son into this world. That itself was a true battle.
My wife is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She works in surgery and fights for the lives of her patients every day. As a stepmom, she fights every day to be the best influence and caregiver to her non-biological children. As a wife, she fights every day to have a marriage that transcends the status quo. My wife is a fighter and I have always known that, but as I stopped and looked at her boots stationed outside our son’s door, I realized she is more than a fighter, she is a sentry, a warrior mom.