My husband has the most annoying alarm ever, and even though I was semi-awake at the time, I still jumped this morning when audibly assaulted by the harsh siren sound. As I recovered I looked over at my sleepy spouse, and I noticed he had shaved. When had he done that?
His long bangs covered his forehead, and the beginning of a new stubble scattered across his jaw. He silenced his alarm while simultaneously sinking further into the comfy confines of our warm mattress, never looking my way.
I was somewhat surprised to see him laying there on his side of the bed. It had been empty when I collapsed on mine before midnight, and on more than one occasion he had been known to never make it to bed at all. Whether passing out in the living room from exhaustion, or simply staying there with a toddler that had woken in the early morning hours, many times he didn’t make it to the bed. That’s just how it was.
We existed as husband and wife in a season of our lives that differed vastly from the one we entered after our honeymoon. Even if we did fall asleep together in our marital bed it wouldn’t be long before one of us startled awake at a cry in the night while the other clung desperately to the edge of the mattress to avoid the active, kicking legs of tiny bedtime visitors.
When we did sleep we slept the hard slumber of stressed, exhausted adults who shouldered a full day’s worth of responsibility, certainly more than six interrupted hours of sleep could cure.
Busy days, long days, full days.
Plenty of tasks, errands, and required jobs to keep minds and hands occupied. So much fighting for your attention, affection, and concerns that it boggled the mind. It certainly distracted it.
But I watched him sleeping. He soaked in those last eight minutes before his alarm yelled with persistence, “get up! Too much to do today!”
I watched him, and I scooted closer towards his dozing body. I wrapped an arm over his waist, and rubbed my fingers along his abdomen. I expected him to sleep on, and although his heavy lids remained closed, his large arm lifted. It swallowed my side, and drew me quickly closer to him.
Eyes still closed he whispered, “I love you so much.”
Then he held me closer as if to cement his comment.
At his words my heart fluttered rapidly in my chest, back like it did when we kissed on our first date. We had sat together on a tree branch we had climbed at the park. The moon and stars had been our nightlight, and when he had leaned in shyly to brush his adolescent lips against mine my heart had thumped hard against my breast, threatening to jump right out through my throat. But I had accepted his kiss, and it had felt just like a slice of heaven right here on earth.
And that’s what I felt this morning positioned comfortably in the crook of his arm. Full. Exhilarated. Loved.
I knew my husband loved me, I knew this. But something about him saying it out loud sounded good. Something about being pulled into his arms made everything else fall away at that moment, and I was glad we belonged to one another.
It was easy to get busy with the business of living. It was even easier to take for granted the one who lived beside you.
Bone-tired, brains made of mush. Bills keep coming, and children keep calling for you. Dishes pile up, supper gets eaten, and the alarm goes off day after day. You can either mope through it, slinking out of bed like an overwhelmed zombie, or you can cozy up to the one beside you.
You can keep your eyes closed, or maybe keep em focused, but either way you can somehow lose sight of happiness. You can forget that lovely feeling of your heart thumping hard in your chest, and you can let it get hardened to loving at all.
Or you can say the thing you think they already know.
You can say, “I love you.”
You can say, “I appreciate you.”
You can say, “I see you. Thank you for doing this life with me.”
You can make time when there doesn’t seem to be any. You can take advantage of rather than taking for granted.
And you can always say that thing you think they already know. Especially that.