Chapter 13: “A Note to My Family…!”
Clayton Anderson's ISS In-Flight Journal
This journal chapter will be my final one from orbit. It is a very special chapter for me as my time in this wonderful place is coming to an end. There are so many things that I just didn’t get done…time has passed so quickly! But today, in these words, I hope to complete a task that I consider extremely important; and that is why this chapter is for my family. To all of you out there who have been following this adventure, you are welcome to read along and I hope that you enjoy it … but it is truly meant for my family: Susan, Cole and Sutton.
Image at right: Astronaut Clay Anderson, Expedition 15 flight engineer, poses for a photo near the Earth observation window in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA
To my beautiful and intelligent wife, my strong, tall son and my energetic and playful daughter…I must say that it has taken me far too long to pen these words. But I think that now is the right time. I have been thinking about how I might “cap off” my on orbit journal in a unique way. What could I say; what should I say to convey my feelings for you? How will it make you feel? I want it to be right, and I want it to make you feel special. I want you to understand how important our family is to me. My time here in space has been my dream come true, yet it is quickly drawing to a close. So it is time for me now, to share with you some of my reflections.
First and foremost, I must simply tell you, thanks. Thank you for letting me pursue my dream. Thank you for putting up with the travel and my time away from home, my crankiness when I was tired after long days at work and for missing all of those practices, games and first days of school. Believe it or not, there are people in this world who would not let a loved one do something like this. Their thoughts would have been more focused on themselves, about how it might change their lives in some way, how it could adversely impact what they were trying to accomplish. But not the three of you. You have given to me a gift that I may never be able to fully repay. You have given me the gift of love, the gift of trust and support, the gift of family. You have all sacrificed for me in a way that is truly remarkable by staying strong and focused, and by working together to assume the responsibilities that previously fell to me.
My dearest Susan, you have been a mother and father, a chauffeur, an accountant, a landscaper and wife, all while continuing to perform at the highest level in your job. Cole and Sutton, you have grown up more quickly perhaps than I wanted you to, but you have learned a great deal. You have continued to mature in positive ways and I pray that you now understand better what it means to give to and sacrifice for others. I am sorry for all of your events that I have missed over the years…I truly wanted to be there for you. I will be there now.
I have missed you all deeply. There has not been a day that goes by where I did not think of you, prayed for you and smiled because of you. I so looked forward to our weekend video visits over the air waves and our chats on the telephone. It meant so much to me to be able to see your faces as well as hear your voices. It brought me “home” for just a while and helped carry me through the days. You mean everything to me and I am so proud of you. We have done this together as a family and we are stronger because of it.
If all goes well, I will be home soon. We will be a “family” once again and I can’t wait!
I love you all.