Scott and I were sitting in the NY Presbyterian imaging center while I drank the yucky contrast stuff for my CT scan yesterday and I started rummaging around in my purse. I haven’t cleaned that purse out in a while and useless thing after useless thing got pulled out. A 32GB SD card we bought for the car but don’t use because navigating through music with it is slow. A thumb drive containing the graphics for a friend’s bridal shower invitations… from three years ago. Various hair ties and barrettes. Expired metrocards. You know, the kind of essential things I really need to lug around with me everywhere.
Way at the bottom I spied a red Sharpie. Gods only know why and how long ago it ended up in there, but there it was. Before I knew what I was doing, I snatched it up, pulled off the cap, and drew a perfect little red check mark on Scott’s hand.
He gave me a quizzical look. “You’ve been approved,” I explained.
It only took him fifteen-and-a-half years, but he now has an official seal of approval. And why not? He certainly earned it. This is the guy who spent every day in the hospital with me during my two recent stints as a patient. His days were filled with worry, boredom, and stress as he drove to and from the hospital, sat around watching me sleep, worried while I went through surgery or tests. When he finally got home every night, it was to three demanding little beasts who needed him to care for them and a house that needed straightening up. Every night he fell exhausted, physically and emotionally, into bed, only to get up and do it again the next day.
When I was in the ER, in pain and scared, he read to me. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He did voices and everything.
It was when I got home from the hospital, though, that his real work started. The cleaning and cooking and laundry. The shopping and fetching and carrying. Helping me up and down when I couldn’t move on my own. Making sure all my medications were taken on time. He’s been a virtual teetotaler during a time he really could have used a stiff drink, just in case something went wrong and he had to rush me to the hospital. Panic that he might flail in his sleep – possible but unlikely – and hit me in the belly had him sleeping on the couch for weeks, even after he went back to work.
In times of adversity, couples can break or grow stronger. I am so fortunate that Scott and I have always grown stronger, no matter what the world throws at us. Most of the credit for that goes to Scott, who handles it all with grace and love, even when he’s frazzled and fried. A seal of approval is the least of the gratitude I owe him.