After working a six hour shift slinging McBurgers, my mom and dad came to pick me up from work asking me to hook them up with a couple of Mcsandwiches. So, I walk back in the restaurant as this tall goofy boy was hanging up a handwritten sign that said “.99 hot Fudge Sundays” I stood there trying not to laugh, when the other person who was behind the counter asked me, “do you see anything wrong with this sign?” I was a new employee and to be quite honest fresh off the boat and quite shy and timid (imagine that) I did not want to make anyone angry at me. But being the big nerd that I am I answered, “Other than the bad hand writing? I don’t think we are selling the day of the week”. The tall, goofy guy looked at me, rolled his eyes and flashed a brace filled smile. I got my sandwiches, and as i was walking out Goofy guy asked if I wanted to go out sometime. I was a product of an all girl’s Catholic school and I have never, ever been on a date before. I must’ve stammered something coz he gave me that smile again while he held the door open for me. A couple of chaperoned dates later (my dad would not let me go out with him unless we were chaperoned), our McRomance blossomed. That was twenty five plus years ago.
I can honestly say, we have come a long way from saying “would you like fries with that?”. Both of us worked our way through school, Armando earned his degree in Political Science from Santa Clara University, where a few years later, I received my Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. It was fitting that we had our wedding at the beautiful Mission Santa Clara. This past August, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. The twenty years were spent raising two boys (Vincent-18 and Scotty-15), Armando served as a Milpitas Council member for 12 years while helping the San Jose mayor balance the budget and I have been a case manager and counselor for the homeless, for schools and i’ve also worked as a substitute teacher.
Our marriage is not all about roses and rainbow, there had been storms along the way. But no one could have ever predicted the level F-5 tornado we would be facing in October of 2014. Armando sat by my bedside night after night while I was in the hospital. During the day, he went home, took care of the boys, then went to work. In the evening he came back. He read to me, told me about the day he and the boys have had. He did this even as I was asleep for long periods of time.
Armando, the goofy dude who misspelled “sundae”, has and continues to be the rock that holds me up when I am about to fall. He has more than upheld his end of the vows we promised each other on August 10, 1996. I know I sometimes forget to say “thank you” and I know saying “thank you” is not nearly enough. My emotional survival and physical recovery would not have been possible without him by my side.
Often, the person who is sick or is recovering from an illness gets all of the attention from family and friends. Their caregivers do not get the love and attention that they so well deserve. Armando has given up so much so he can support me. I would not have made the progress I have now if he wasn’t by my side. He has picked up the slack in terms of getting the kids to school, keeping up the housework, taking me to doctors appointments and making delicious meals! He gets tired, he gets frustrated and yet he continues to be strong not just for me, but for the boys too.