“Today just isn’t working for me,” I told Mike.
He looked a bit worried because normally every day works for me—every day is “the best day ever.”
“Today I’m worn down,” I said. “It’s just hard not seeing an end to being sick, ya know? It’s so daunting. I just don’t know when the pain will stop.”
“That’s it. We’re doing something fun.”
“I’m bringing you to Goodwill.” He waited for me to smile—because I love a bargain—then he went on. “I’ll pick out an outfit for you and you’ll pick one for me. But it has to be some sort of theme. Like a profession. A doctor or a teacher or…something. And then we’ll go out like that.”
Even though it was a rough day, I broke out laughing. “I’m exhausted, but who could pass up a date like that?! It’s a deal!”
At Goodwill I honestly had no idea what to get for Mike until I passed by some suspenders. “Yes!” I whispered under my breath. I could dress Mike like an old man! So, I grabbed the suspenders, a plaid shirt, some faded jeans that came in tight at the ankles, glasses, and a hat.
When we got back to the house, so we could change before going out, I could hardly wait for our “outfit exchange.”
“Oh, my gosh!” he said. “You’re dressing me like…an old man! I should’ve known.”
“And what am I supposed to be?” I asked holding up a studious jean dress.
“A teacher’s assistant.”
After we donned the clothes, we immediately got into character. Mike even talked like an old man—a bit exaggerated if you ask me—he even called me “Sonny.” And I seriously had the best time.
At the end of the night, I realized I hadn’t thought about the pain or the cancer. I hadn’t felt self-conscious as I walked or inadequate. Instead, I’d felt so happy to simply be with the person I love.
“Mike,” I turned to him. “I just want you to know how thankful I am for you and everything you’ve done for me and the kids this last year. I don’t know anyone who would handle this as well as you have.” After all, he’s cooked, taken care of the kids, taken care of me—and made sure all of us were happy. “I’m just so lucky. It’s hard being sick, but you make it all better somehow. I can’t imagine if our roles were reversed. I don’t think I would’ve handled it half as well.” Then the thought was too much. “I can’t stand the thought of you suffering. I hope you’ll always stay healthy, and carefree, and young.”
He peered over at me, his eyes squinting. “What are ya talkin’ ‘bout, darlin’. I’m a hun-dred yeeeears old.”
I giggled through my tears and hugged him. “Whatever you are…you sure are the best at it.”
And that night as I fell asleep in my “old man’s” arms, I couldn’t get over how incredibly lucky I am. Life might be hard, but it seems like there’s always something equally wonderful that balances it out.