Not Just Another Day Another week! For a moment Carol felt somewhat disheartened as she contemplated the day ahead and all the things that had to be done. She gazed at the calendar hanging on the wall. She’d bought one with a large box for each date so she could write down what had to be done on any particular day. But it seemed each day blurred into the next and wasn’t much different from yesterday or the day before. She shrugged off the feeling of being overwhelmed, tightened the band around her long, blond hair and opened the fridge. Time to get Annie, Susie, and Alex off to school, get ready for work and drop off John’s and her shirts at the cleaners. John would pick them up later. Then after work, she’d stop at the bank to sign the loan papers for the kitchen renovations and then tackle all the tasks awaiting her at home. Maybe she needed to learn to say no once in a while. It was crazy to agree to join the PTA, too. Even weekends seemed to be an endless round of sports, dancing or music lessons, and birthday parties. Not that she minded — she loved the hustle and bustle of family life. She and John were so fortunate. They had four healthy children, a beautiful home, jobs they loved, and most importantly a stable, happy marriage. Still, it felt as though they were like those cliched ships that passed in the night. There was so little time to spend together. She finished packing lunches as her sixteen-year-old entered the kitchen. Carol wrapped her arms around her daughter. “Good morning.” “Anything special happening this weekend, Mom?” “Just the usual kids’ stuff, you know.” A loud noise from above and Carol headed for the stairs. “See you later, Katie. Love you.” * * * John boarded the bus and looked out the window. Life was busy with both of them trying to juggle work and children. He hoped for a promotion with a salary increase that’d help with the kitchen renovations. The extra hours at work were helping the finances but not family life. He couldn’t remember the last time he and Carol had time alone. He flipped open his laptop. Maybe he was exaggerating, but sometimes it seemed as though they were passing strangers. And even when together, half the time they were so tired that conversation was sacrificed in favor of cuddling up on the sofa with a DVD. While he wouldn’t change anything, occasionally he felt nostalgic for those long-ago days when it was just Carol and him. John looked down at his ringing cell phone and frowned. He had expected it to be his boss. Instead it was his daughter. “Hi, Katie. No. Nothing planned this weekend.” His phone beeped. His boss was trying to reach him. “Sorry. I’ve got to take this call. I’ll see you later.” * * * Carol put the car in the garage, mentally running through the to-do list on today’s calendar. Thankfully this Friday nobody had after-school activities. That meant she could start baking. She frowned. Why had she agreed to bake four-dozen assorted cookies for tomorrow’s PTA fundraiser? She opened the front door, her hands full with groceries and drew in the aroma. The unmistakable smell of — cookies? Carol rushed into the kitchen and watched as her daughter took a cookie sheet from the oven. “Katie?” “Hi, Mom.” Kate looked up, grinning. Then a pair of strong arms lovingly wrapped around Carol’s waist. Turning, she looked up into John’s smiling face with those adorable laugh lines at the corners of his brown eyes. “Why are you home this early?” He gave a low chuckle. “Because our daughter reminded me about something.” “I don’t understand.” “What day is it, Mom?” Kate asked. “Friday. So?” “But what Friday?” Kate prompted. “Friday the . . .” Carol glanced at the calendar, the box filled with her day’s to-do list and then to the date. Her eyes widened. “It’s our anniversary!” “Happy Anniversary,” John said, bending down to kiss her. “I forgot, too.” “I realized you both did,” Katie said, sampling a cookie. “I’m taking the kiddos to dinner and a movie and then we’re spending the night at Nana’s. We’ll be back tomorrow night.” “But —” Carol began. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of the cookies.” Carol laughed. “Looks like it’s settled. She pecked her daughter on the cheek. “You’re such a sweetie.” Later, after the house was emptied, Carol and John looked at each other across the kitchen table. “I’m so sorry I forgot our anniversary, Hon.” “Me, too.” Carol sipped her coffee. “I’ve felt recently that we are — ” “Not spending enough time with each other?” John finished. Carol nodded. “The kids are fantastic. But do you remember when we first got married?” John took her hand into his. “We’d happily spend hours just us two doing nothing special.” Carol went over to the calendar on the wall. “And I promise I’ll start scheduling our time together.” She wrote “John and Carol time” over the weekend dates before turning to her husband. “So what shall we do? Dinner? Movies? Day trip tomorrow?” “I know the perfect thing.” He walked across the room and took the pen out of her hand. “What?” “We’re going to do absolutely nothing.” Carol thought about his suggestion for a moment then hugged him tight. “What a fantastic idea. Happy Anniversary, sweetheart!”
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