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Challenge: Romance After Kids

A Thousand Little Ways

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I won’t wait

I will take today

To see the thousand little ways

The ways in which you say

“I still do.”

He needs this,” and “She needs that,” they say. And we could obey. We could wait till the stars align and the feelings are right and the bank account is full and the children are grown. We could wait and watch for a big, flashy reason to see and to say that the love that started it all is still going strong.

Or I could see it today.

I could see it in the way you get up early to go to work outside in the cold, without complaining, to provide for us. I hear you locking the door, making sure we are safe when you leave.

I could say it with the bulletin board I bought, the one that was on sale for seven dollars, the one with the pre-made pockets so we could easily store post-it notes and pens. You hung it in our room, and we started filling it with little encouragements to each other. And when I forget… it’s right there, your handwriting, reassuring me.

It’s in the movie night you planned. When you picked one you knew I would like. Something happy and cheerful and pleasant, of course.

It’s in the way you take out the trash every Sunday night. “It’s my job,” you smile and say. But I take a minute to say “thank you,” anyway.

It’s the look in her eyes… the big, blue ones she got from you… and the smile on her face, when you say, “Let’s go on a Daddy Date.” It’s in watching you sweep her off her feet, the same way you swept me.

It’s in the patience I have for her tantrums and tears. Growing emotions and growing ideas and growing expectations are a lot to handle for a little four year-old girl. But we raise her with kindness, for her own sake and for each other. When I’m loving her I’m loving you, because she’s part of you like she’s part of me.

It’s the way you rock him to bed each night, and take just a little longer than you need to. I haven’t the energy by 8 pm, but he knows he can rely on you, for those extra long snuggles he needs.

It’s in the way they smile their big huge smiles at me, and I see your smile within. They look just like you, our curly-headed girls, everyone knows.

It’s in the way you know what he needs. “Some boy time,” you say. And you take him on a bike ride.

It’s in the way you put your arm around me after a hard day. That’s all I really need, you know.

It’s in the soup pot you bought me for Christmas, because you noticed my favorite one all scratched and worn.

It’s in the way you sit down to listen after we disagree. We’ll work together, not apart, to solve our troubles and fears.

It’s in the way I pray for you when Worry comes knocking on our door. The “It’ll be all right, God’s got this,” way of praying.

It’s in the way we’re learning daily to cling to our faith, to the words that have the power to save: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Romans 13:9b, NIV Bible). And it’s in remembering who our closest neighbor really is.

So I don’t have to wait or wonder, Is the love that started it all still there? Does he still care?

I don’t have to wonder, it’s right here…

It’s in the serving and the caring, the working hard and the working-it-out moments. It’s in hearing you tell her stories at night and hearing their feet pounding down the hall while they holler, “Daddy’s home!” It’s in the faithful hum of my ancient car’s engine, the one that keeps working because you take care of it.

It’s in the way I carelessly clog the sink by throwing orange peels down it, and after your 12-hour shift, you hunker down to fix it. “A hug and a kiss, and accidents happen,” you tell me.

It’s in the way we’ve grown, and changed, so much these last ten years, but we commit to changing together, commit to getting to know each other all over again.

It’s in the way we let go of the stuff that doesn’t really matter anymore, you know.

It’s in the way we both try to step it up in areas that do matter. Like self-care and listening and simply, purely, being there.

Yes, there’s time for just us, time for adult conversation. But in between, there are a thousand little things. A thousand little ways to notice and appreciate the love that still is.

So I won’t wait,

I will take today.

To share patience with you

To see the kind things you do.

I will take today

To see it and to say

I still do.

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