i used to joke with people who came to our house for dinner and had a fabulous meal, almost always prepared by my wife alison (she cooked, i cleaned), that i had married well. it was true in more ways than just the dinner parties – she has always been the organizer of vacations, the balancer of the checkbook, and generally the head-chief-boss (as my son used to say) of the family. that, in addition to her cheerful temperament and astonishing good looks, has always made me feel like the luckiest man on the planet.
now, almost ten years into my ms diagnosis, and as i become gradually more disabled – or should i say less able to do the things i used to do – she has stepped up her game. it seems every day there is another thing i cannot do – carry my laundry basket upstairs, haul wood for the fireplace up from the basement, vacuum the dog hair off the carpet or fix the bathroom faucet (which she just did). she fills in where i can’t go with a smile and as much understanding as an observer can have of my feelings about disability. i thank her every day, and we’ve had a few conversations about how one of the things i fret over is being useless and a burden, and that she has never made me feel that way.
so, suffice to say, she is a saint. and i swear i am not exaggerating (or bragging). after our latest conversation about how much i appreciate every little thing she does for me, it started to bug me that just me thanking her was not enough. but what can i possibly do, with my limitations, to perhaps begin to pay her back? a day at the spa, dinner out, or a borders gift certificate would all be appreciated, but they are nowhere near what i feel i need to do for her. i’ve been thinking it over for a while, and i am stumped. she was (and i hope still is) planing to go to amsterdam with a friend (she has a close business associate who lives there), and at first i was a little upset that she invited the friend and not me as her companion. but now i am all in favor. she deserves it, she deserves time away from me (god knows!) and i think it will be great for her to go on this adventure. but as great as it will be, it’s not something i am doing for her, or giving her.
maybe in the end, just my making an effort to remain as healthy as i can for as long as i can will be all i can really do. that and thank my lucky stars that, somehow all those years ago, i was blessed to find a saint who would consent to marry me. i hope you are all as lucky as i am.
(any suggestions on how to thank a saint would be appreciated, by the way!)
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