Happily Ever After By Donnie, Father, Husband, Project Leader, Former Athlete • October 12, 2017
I’m sure that a lot of people out there have interesting stories about how they met their significant other. But I like to think that when it comes to Melissa and me, our story is one for the ages.
It started way back when we were in fourth grade. I was new to town, having just moved from a neighboring county. I was in Mrs. R’s class and guess who was in the same class? Melissa, of course! We became friends during this time and we attended the same local schools all the way up to our high school graduation. Plus, our dads both coached little league football and baseball together, so we also saw a lot of each other when we weren’t at school.
When we got to high school we remained friends, but we didn’t have as much in common as when we were younger. I was the jock. I played football and baseball and any other sport that I could participate in. Melissa was the opposite. She didn’t like sports and definitely had no interest in a jock whose ego was big enough to fill the whole school. At least that’s what I thought at the time... I will explain later.
Five years after we graduated high school, we happened to run into each other at a local establishment. We hadn’t seen each other since our graduation, and after some small talk, we agreed to get together sometime to catch up. She had told me that she still lived with her parents, so a week later I looked up their number. I made the call and we had a date the following week. The rest is history! We were married 6 months after that first date.
Now remember when I said Melissa had no interest in a jock? Well, about ten years ago my mother-in-law said she found a picture of me that Melissa had kept. It was a cut-out from our local newspaper. The picture was taken when I signed a scholarship to play junior college baseball my senior year of high school. So it turns out Melissa had her eye on me all along, she just didn’t want to admit it!
For the past 24 years, Melissa has given me so much, including two beautiful daughters. On top of that, she selflessly took on three challenging roles as a wife, mother, and a caregiver for someone with a chronic illness. And she has been outstanding at all three roles. Since my diagnosis, Melissa has shown me so much strength, love, and support that I can’t even begin to explain. She inspires me and encourages me to fight my relapsing MS with all that I have to give. She applauds me when I accomplish things and she picks me up (literally) on days that I need some support.
When we were married 24 years ago, we had no idea what our future would hold. We were young and we didn’t have very much (little to nothing), but we loved each other deeply. That love has been the most important and most constant thing in our lives. There has never been a day that I’ve woken up and felt like I was in this fight alone. Melissa has never wavered. In the summer of 2002—the day that I got diagnosed—I sat on my bed and cried with her. I was terrified about what the future would now hold for us. Melissa told me she didn’t care what I had—that she loved me for who I was. She assured me that we were in this fight together. She took a vow to be with me for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and she was not going to let this diagnosis break that vow.
One of my wishes for my two daughters is that they find a spouse who is like their mother. A person who loves them unconditionally. A person who doesn’t care about material things. A person who is going to be faithful and willing to make whatever sacrifices need to be made. That’s what I found with Melissa. I am forever grateful for her love and support.
- CARE PARTNER
By Donnie, Father, Husband, Project Leader, Former Athlete, November 7, 2017
On most Sundays in the late afternoon you can find me doing one of two things. I am either watching golf or NASCAR
My Amazing Family: My Care Partners
By Donnie, Father, Husband, Project Leader, Former Athlete, September 27, 2017
My two girls really can’t remember me before I had relapsing MS. I was diagnosed in 2000 when Brooklyn was 4 and Hannah was 2.
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