I snuggled in closer and tucked my head under Randy’s chin. Oh, it was so nice! His arms, sturdy and strong, helped me feel that I could relax for the first time in over a week. Resting for a moment, content to just be together again, we each waited for the other to speak. It felt so normal and right to be held again, however briefly.
Normal was not something we got to experience very often. Since Andrew’s diagnosis, our family had been ripped apart. First with both parents and son at the hospital and the girls with grandparents, then later with Randy and I taking hospital/home turns so one of us was always with the kids in their separate places.
We rarely got to eat together, and when we did it felt either chaotic as everyone prepared to rush off to the next thing, or awkward as we watched the pallid little guy who used to devour everything in sight sit and pick at his food, then throw it up. The kids used to play together outside, climbing trees, finding frogs, getting messy. Now Andrew couldn’t go outside and sanitized cleanliness was very important in our household.
Normal used to include things like family worship time, Mommy always tucking the kids into bed, Daddy playing games with the kids in the front yard, piling on the couch to read stories together and singing loudly around the house. My favorite normal was that Randy and I always had the evening time to debrief, put things in perspective and just be together.
Finally, now, we had a few moments together, after several weeks of swapping places and living on the run. Randy and I had eaten together, for the first time in who-knows-how-long and were getting ready to go our separate ways again.
While I rested against Randy, I felt him kiss my hair gently and his voice rumbled over the top of my head. He told me of the last week’s highlights; lightly skimmed troubles at work, worries he’d had, projects he tackled, goals he set. Then he moved on to the girls; how their music practices had gone, projects they’d had at school, worries they’d had while mommy was gone.
Leaning back to look at him while we talked I was so grateful for these moments we could spend together, re-establishing our friendship and hanging onto our intimacy.
I told Randy of my worries, of the difficult procedures Andrew had handled like a champ and of my desperate need to get out of those four walls of the hospital room.
He bent his head and kissed me, and just for that moment, all was right with the world. Right up until the carload of teenagers pulled up to the drive-through, whistling at the middle-aged couple kissing in the parking lot.
We laughed as we pulled apart, swapping the keys in our hands as we stepped back. “If you don’t hurry, you won’t make it home before the girls are out of school,” Randy reminded.
“Yes, I know,” I sighed, “Andrew was asleep when I left, and if you hurry, you should make it to Doernbecker’s before he wakes up…I hate for him to be alone there…”
“Only three days, then we can do this again, it’s a good spot—halfway in between home and hospital.” Randy determinedly remained cheerful. “I have to be back for the board meeting…”
“I know,” I repeated as I edged toward the car.
“I checked the oil and everything so the car should be good to go, drive carefully and I’ll see you here in three days!” Neither of us wanted to lose this moment of togetherness and we were reluctantly backing towards our cars.
“OK, well, I love you!” Randy said as he eased into the driver’s seat, “I’m glad we had these few moments together—I’ve missed you!”
“Me too, you,” I laughed out my car window, “Let’s make out at Taco Bell in three days!”
“Yep,” he responded as he started the motor, “it’s all we’ve got!”
Find SOME way to connect with your spouse. Pressure can pull you apart. Make the choice to keep together, even if it’s only a quick stop while trading cars.