“I’m choosing my wife now, I’m choosing my wife tomorrow, I’m choosing my wife forever” – AnJuan Thomas
A couple of years ago, I channeled my inner George Wallace when I engaged in some great conversation on Facebook about one of the most frightening decisions a person can make in life: the decision to save either their spouse or their child in a life-threatening situation in which you were the only immediate help. At the time, I boldly stated that I would save Mercedes and almost all of the other people thought I was insane and that I was only making that decision because I wasn’t a parent. Well, I’ve now been a parent for 1 ½ years and I’d still make the same decision. It’s a decision I would still make in spite of what happened earlier this year with Ashton spending 1 ½ weeks in the PICU with RSV. Yesterday, I read an article on BET.com about a man who chose his child over his wife and it reignited my passion for my position.
Why Mercedes? This is the $1 million question. The answer is simple. I made a covenant with her…and that means a lot to me. I made a vow to protect her life to the fullest extent possible if it ever came down to it…with my own life, if necessary. Would I be devastated to lose Ashton? Absolutely. I feel terrible for parents who lose their children. The lost potential, the feeling of emptiness…that’s real and it’s a feeling I hope I never have to face. Just this past summer, one of my co-best friends lost her daughter in a house fire and though it wasn’t the same circumstances as this post, it crushed her nonetheless and I don’t think she’ll ever be the same. Make no mistake about it: I love Ashton with all of my heart. Mercedes may have carried him in her womb and pushed him out but since I first held him in my arms, I’ve been nothing short of an Olympic gold medal father for him. So I don’t take it lightly the decision I would make in choosing Mercedes, whom I also love with all of my heart. And if you forgot just how much I love her, refer to this picture of me publicly sobbing as she walked down the aisle at our wedding. In my mind, the scenario that keeps playing is that I make a valiant attempt to save both. The 1st person is saved and the 2nd person dies before I’m able to get them to safety. In that situation, I think about fire or a flood or a tornado. For me, I would save Mercedes 1st and ensure that she’s OK before going back and putting it all on the line for Ashton. Personally, it’s my hope that I’m able to get Ashton to the safety of Mercedes’ arms before I die. I could be at peace in that situation, knowing that I’ve done all I could physically to protect them as well as the administrative things I have in place to protect them in the event of my demise. The bottom line: I’d absolutely hate to lose Ashton and I would mourn on a level that far exceeds the mourning of the unborn child I lost in 2007 but if I lost Mercedes, after the trials and tribulations I went through to get to the point of having her as my wife, I’d lose my will to live my own life. I’m sure she’d probably be upset with me if I chose her over Ashton. Maybe it’s a 50% chance our marriage survives such a tragedy. But it’s a 0% chance she and I survive a tragedy if I lose her. In this instance, the covenant—to me, at least—is much more important than the fruit.
This is my take, my way of addressing this doomsday scenario. I don’t begrudge anybody who chooses the life of their child over the life of their spouse. Hopefully nobody I know—even my enemies or my archrival—will ever have to make this decision. But for me, my reality is that I’m choosing my wife. Nobody breathing on this earth right now is above her in the hierarchy.