Technology has changed, but Jodi Wardinsky’s commitment to her family has remained very much the same. She has been a constant source of support from her time with her husband Ryan as high school sweethearts in Kalispell, Montana, through the challenges of long distance love, getting married, and sticking by his side through the rigors of minor league baseball.
While Ryan was in pursuit of his baseball career at Texas A&M, Jodi was playing volleyball at Carroll College. All they had was their bond to each other, which stood the test of time, and occasional phone calls.
Now, 22 years later, Ryan is out on the road well over 100 days a year as a scouting supervisor for the Miami Marlins, but is armed with FaceTime and even texting with his little girls, Emma (10) and Paige (8). The new age of communication has been a game-changer, but would still mean very little without the relentless support that Jodi continues to provide at home in The Woodlands, Texas.
“She’s very caring, kind and smart,” Ryan said. “She has been extremely patient with my career. Not only that, but to manage some elements of my personality and how I operate takes somebody with patience. She’s known me a long time, and I’m thankful she is as flexible and understanding as she is.”
“I spend over 100 nights per year in hotels. That leaves her at home to handle everything that comes with working a full-time job, raising the girls, and all the logistics of living in Houston. She’s a very involved mother. There’s a lot of moving pieces in our lives, and she has done such a great job of managing it all.”
Jodi has found a way to put all the pieces of the puzzle together even on the occasions where she has to do the heavy lifting while Ryan is out of town. She makes a colossal joint investment into her life as a teacher and as a wife and mother to excel in each of those areas. Jodi is in nonstop motion to make it all work.
She does whatever has to be done in order to handle all the pickups, drop-offs and activities, which is made possible by her adaptability and hard work. But Jodi goes so much further with her daughters, not just to make sure they have what they need, but that they learn, grow and feel loved.
“She makes me feel special by taking me on trips and giving me opportunities,” Paige said. “She is very kind and makes me feel safe, and she takes time to help me get better at school and sports.”
“She is always there for me,” Emma added. “I know Mom loves me no matter what.”
Ryan knows that better than anyone, but so do plenty of others in Jodi’s family back in Montana, as well as Ryan’s family, in her classroom, and all over suburban Houston. Her focus is always on other people, but Jodi also has a way of accomplishing whatever tasks are in front of her.
Even when responsibilities pile up and life gets chaotic, Jodi simply puts one foot in front of the other and works her way through it. She doesn’t complain or think negatively, and instead forges ahead with a laid-back attitude and impeccable work ethic.
Ryan’s sister, Carissa, has the utmost respect for Jodi for the way she takes care of her family, stays loyal to Ryan, and makes whatever sacrifices are necessary along the way.
“She is the most kind, sweet and caring person,” Carissa said. “She is super genuine. She’s low maintenance. You always know where you stand with her because she is so honest and straightforward. There’s never any drama or anything. She’s very unselfish and would do anything for anyone.”
“She is loyal to her family and my brother and their life together. She’s also very fun and up for doing things.”
Jodi is faithful and loyal, and she and Ryan are instilling the same principles in Emma and Paige. Everything Jodi does leads back to the idea of guiding them and letting them know they are supported and loved no matter what.
She and Ryan walk that fine line of being the girls’ biggest fans while focusing on teaching them values and integrity. And, yes, Jodi has made many sacrifices for them and for Ryan, but is always happy to do it without viewing them as sacrifices.
“She just loves those girls and loves being a mom,” her mother, Patty, said. “It shows in everything she does. She is their chief cheerleader and role model. She leads her girls by example. She is gentle, yet firm, helping them problem-solve on their own.”
“They are kind, respectful, hardworking girls. She has taught them to be generous and thoughtful. In whatever they choose to pursue, they know Jodi and Ryan will support their dreams.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Jodi’s life journey is that she has relentlessly supported the dreams of others, without viewing it as an impediment and without compromising her own dreams. She is a loving mother, a dedicated wife and a daughter who continues to make her mom beam with pride.
“Jodi, you are one of my greatest blessings,” Patty said. “From the time you were born until now, you have blessed me in so many ways. You have become such an example to me of kindness, thoughtfulness and selflessness. I am so thankful that I get to be your mom.”
The same is true for Carissa, who couldn’t think of a better wife and mother for Ryan and the girls. She also counts Jodi as a trusted sister-in-law and friend.
“Jodi has chosen to love and cherish the brother I have loved and admired my whole life,” Carissa said. “She accepted our family as well as inviting us into her own. Thank you, Jodi. Those words may seem simple, but they are truly encompassing. I couldn’t ask for a better woman to be my first sister, a wife to my brother and mom to my precious nieces.”
“You bring joy into this world and our family. We love and appreciate you every day!”
Life can be hectic, and sometimes the deep appreciation Ryan feels for Jodi can seem overlooked in their day-to-day hustle. But make no mistake, he is continually impressed by everything she does and for 20-plus years of support of him and his baseball pursuits.
Jodi has always been there to encourage and love him, but also be honest and challenge him to grow and improve. She plays the same role for their daughters and does it all with love in her heart and a smile on her face.
“I’m grateful for her,” Ryan said. “She was selfless enough to let me follow my dreams playing ball and allowing my passion for baseball and scouting to take us far from home and our families. I’m very aware and appreciative of that. I love parenting with her. I love our lives together, and raising our daughters with her has been so fun and rewarding. I’m thankful she’s such a great mom and wife.”