As I sit here in the early hours of the day I feel so proud that I got myself up and out of bed before Martell started yelling, “I’m AWAKE! I’m AWAKE!” I made myself coffee because, well, do I really need to finish that sentence? I can still hear the unified chirping of the crickets outside, and I am slowly beginning to hear cars driving by. My morning mind is a little bit fuzzy, especially since I just couldn’t seem to fall back asleep after Esmae’s 3:45 feeding. I laid in bed for nearly an hour and a half before I finally decided that today is beginning—with or without me; but that I’d rather begin my day than allow my day to begin me, if that makes any sense at all.
So here I am, free and clear to write, to think, to be present, and all I can think about is how beautiful the leaves on the trees look when the warm morning sun begins shining up over the horizon, and how truly blue the sky is—without a single cloud in sight. It’s not very often that I sit and wonder at the beauty of our world. Some days it hits me harder than others, how much beauty can be found in even just a single moment. Sometimes I’m not ready to see it, I suppose. Sometimes I am blind to life’s blessings—aren’t we all?
That must be what keeps us chasing after the next thing—the next new piece of décor for the house, the next car or phone or coffee maker. We, as people, can be so fickle, so easily distracted, so—dare I say—ungrateful?
What is this life really about? Is it about keeping up with the pace of things? Is it about being remembered or noticed or right? Those aren’t inherently bad things, in fact, sometimes the things that are our favorite in life—being the best ____________ (fill in the blank): mom, wife, teacher, writer, student, etc—actually has the ability to pull us hard into a completely unbalanced life. Bear with me here:
In recent months life has felt like a blur. I can’t believe Esmae will be five months in the coming week, it will be September in a few days, school has started, and yesterday the humidity was low enough for us to spend the whole morning outside not in the pool! Time has been passing ever so quickly that I find myself afraid to blink sometimes.
I’m not sure what it does to you, but sleep deprivation on top of more sleep deprivation has left me in a sad emotional heap. Last week I got lost in the sadness of missing my mom, and that was honestly just the start of it. I have been so tired and wrapped up in caring for our sweet darling Esmae (and Martell), that I have begun to neglect my other roles. My role as a friend, as a wife, as a daughter, as a homeowner. The one that hit me hard last week, however, was my marriage. In my effort to keep my baby alive as she wakes in the night (and during the day), it has taken me a little while to wake to the feeling of loneliness. (In case you’re wondering how I could possibly feel alone when I have, let’s say, 3 hours (max) to be by myself a day, trust me, it’s possible.) It seems that my husband has been in the same funk—focusing on work and daddying, and neglecting our marriage as well.
When we sat down to talk, tears streamed down my face as I confessed to feeling so alone in this life sometimes, and like I spend more time with Gabe than ever, but find myself missing him more than ever. We talked and talked and prayed and prayed and cried and cried until we thought we got to the bottom, ready to build back up. As I began to leave the room, Gabe asked if I felt better about things. Without fully thinking through what was going to come out of my mouth, I began, “Yes, I just wanted to make sure…”
“Make sure of what, Linds?” he sweetly responded.
And again, through heavier tears, I responded, “I just wanted to make sure you still loved me.”
Do you ever have moments where something comes out of your mouth that is reflective of your heart—but prior to it coming out of your mouth, you didn’t even realize the feeling was there at all? Well, there you have it, folks. I wasn’t sure if my husband was still in love with me—not because he’s a terrible husband or because I’m a terrible wife, but because slowly, slowly, we allowed kids and parties and friends and the daily mundane to take priority over our marriage.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a friend who was telling me that her and her husband were just getting to know one another again now that her kids are driving and much more self-sufficient. I thought to myself—“I never want to do that. I want to know my husband even through the whirlwind of parenting.” Let me tell you—it’s easier said than done, and I now can see how much easier that actually is than remaining acquainted with and in pursuit of one another.
So now that Martell is yelling, “I’m awake, I’m awake, Mommy!” I will quickly finish what it is I’m trying to say. I’d be missing the big picture if I said marriage comes first, for even putting all of my emotion and time and energy into my marriage would not fulfill the void of loneliness in my heart. It’s only my Jesus that can fulfill the deep need I have for true, pure, sweet love that fills so full that it spills out over the edges so I can fulfill my role as wife and then mother and then friend. It is only the love of Jesus, I’ve found, that can keep me full. It is in Him that I can most imperfectly get it right.