While getting up early is never my favorite thing it somehow seems better when I wake up suddenly, and I am shaken from my sleep by my alarm only to realize I’ve been out like a light. There’s something satisfying about a good, hard night’s sleep where your body resembles a rock, and you even check the mirror to see if you gathered moss while you snored.
This morning was that kind of morning, and though I was jolted awake to my disappointment, the sting of wakefulness was soothed by the fact that it was the first time my eyes had opened all night long. The room was dark, and the humidifier was running. It created a beautiful, white noise that could lull even the most insomniac of minds.
The side of the bed to my left was empty. In fact it was untouched. That side of the bed was still tidily made, and that told me two things. One, I really had slept like a rock. And two, my husband had not come to bed at all last night. I wasn’t surprised one bit.
I thought then of yesterday morning when I had been running late for work. As I had gotten into the car and cranked it up I experienced momentary distress. My mind produced images of the illuminated gaslight I had noticed the day before, and I realized that even as time worked against me so did an empty gas tank. I knew I would have to stop for a fill-up despite the lack of time.
But when I looked at the dash a half tank of gas looked back, and I knew it wasn’t a visit from the fuel fairy that had saved me. It had simply been the thoughtfulness of my spouse.
And wasn’t that what it was all about? Doing small, insignificant things, day in and day out, not because you were asked to or because of what you got in return, but simply out of love.
Favorite meals made. A honey-do list checked off.
A tidy house. A tuned-up car.
Love notes and laundry done. Yard mowed and the broken bed mended.
Nothing big, not in the grand scheme, but simply small, mundane tokens that collectively made a house run smoothly. And subsequently made you feel special, taken care of, and secure.
Yet he wasn’t in my bed.
I trudged in a sleepwalk haze towards the bathroom, but not before stopping to find my spouse. There on the living room floor lay my husband, surrounded by three girls, and one of them was actually sprawled out across his chest.
It wasn’t a party I had missed, but an action to ensure I slept undisturbed. The three girls were our rowdy daughters, and the youngest snored softly on her father’s sternum.
An empty medicine dropper lay in the sink for soothing incoming molars, but I hadn’t heard a sound. Not one single cry.
I had slept hard, and good. I had drove to work with plenty in my gas tank, and I had arrived on time. But mostly I had walked into work feeling loved and appreciated.
I felt special, and worth doing the little things for even when nothing was promised in return. I was grateful for the gift of him. Plus I knew he’d be back in our bed come tonight.