When Adelade was brand new, the only way she would sleep was in her swing. She was so tiny that she looked swallowed up by the thing every time I put her in there, but as soon as she got settled in and the swing got going, she would sleep for several hours at a time.
I was a first-time mother, and I was shaky. I was almost certain that at any moment something terrible would happen to the baby, so I put her swing in the living room, and I slept on the couch, waking up every half hour or so in a complete panic, blindly feeling for my glasses like Thelma on Scooby Doo so that I could peer at the child across a semi-dark room and prove to myself that she was still breathing.
This is how I slept for weeks. Constant waking up to see if she was still alive. Tossing and turning on an old slip covered couch in the tiny living room of our house. I still remember lying there looking up at the glittered popcorn ceiling while the swing clicked back and forth in its comforting and slightly annoying way. I felt lonely and isolated.
Then one night when I was just settling into the saggy little couch, in walked Chad, carrying his pillow and the blankets off of our bed. Despite the fact that he was due in court in just a few short hours, my young attorney husband laid down on the living room floor between my couch and the baby’s swing. He reached up to pat my arm, and then he quickly fell asleep.
He stayed there all night, in the living room floor, through feedings and changings, sleepily smiling at me as we shook our heads in amazement that this was our new life. Together we half slept while Adelade snoozed happily.
The next morning, I watched Dawson’s Creek reruns in my pjs while he put on his black suit and headed to court to argue for justice. And, I couldn’t seem to get that image out of my mind, Chad shuffling down the hall with his blankets, choosing to sleep on a hard floor because he suspected that I needed the company. I couldn’t forget the feel of his kind patting on my arm, comfort for a weary mama for whom the weight of motherhood was just setting in.
Later, when he came in way after dark, exhausted from a long, trying day, he collapsed onto that saggy couch and held out his hands for his first little daughter.
I doubt I’ll ever forget the night when a hard floor in a tiny living room taught me that real love looks almost nothing like the movies. It is tiny. It is sweet, sleepy reassurance. It can be as simple as deciding to breathe steady together through a long and exhausting night.
Real love is so much more than flower petals and fireworks. If we wake up to the tiny ways that love shows up in our marriages, we’ll be amazed by how much romance is there.
What are some of the small ways you’ve seen love shine in your marriage?