Eleven years ago, right before Adelade was born, Chad and I bought a mattress. We had been married for six years and had been sleeping on his grandmother’s old spring mattress that was who knows how old. In fact, I think it may have been rumored that someone had once died on it. But, I tried to ignore that possibility, and we slept on it the way very young people can, ignoring the lack of support and springs poking you in the back at night.
But, as I grew more and more pregnant with nine pound Adelade, I started wishing for something a little more substantial to sleep on. So, we made the first serious, grown-up purchase of our married life. I remember the day it showed up at our door. We oohed and aahed over the plush white top. We laid on it and jumped on it and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was. It felt like the Rolls Royce of mattresses after years of sleeping on Mama’s broken down, possible-death bed.
Life went on.
I remember the day I crawled into bed at six in the morning after a full night sitting up with a screaming Adelade. Poor young attorney Chad was trying his hardest to get a few hours of sleep before facing the stress of another full day. While Adelade’s screams echoed down the hallway from the living room, I told Chad that I was finished. That I couldn’t do it. That motherhood had already beaten me just a few weeks in. I will never forget how good that bed felt, or how grateful I was when Chad got up to deal with Adelade. A little while later I could hear him on the phone, telling his secretaries to cancel his appointments for the day.
I remember when Adelade got sick for the first time. She was misdiagnosed several times before we finally figured out that she had a kidney infection. Her fever got up to almost 105 degrees, and we were terrified. We put her between us in our bed and spent the night watching her and praying that she would turn back into the smiley little girl that we were used to. I never really gave another thought to that mattress until recently, when we started talking about getting a new one. Have you ever considered how much of life is lived in your bed?
I wonder how many nights we spent lying on that mattress, Chad cracking me up when we should have been sleeping, doing impressions and making jokes while we shushed each other because the kids were sleeping?
How many tense nights did we spend, backs turned to one another, angry about something silly that had happened that day? One of us would always reach for the other, breaking the invisible barrier between us, calling a truce right there on a plush white pillow top, refusing to sleep with all that distance clouding our thinking.
How often did I roll myself out of bed ten times a night because another big baby was sleeping on my bladder?
How many tears did I cry over babies that we never met? I remember lying there in our sunny bedroom the day I had my d&c, wishing that I could fast forward to a happier moment.
Then there was the unforgettable night when Chad had been gone for nine days to South Africa. We laid in our cool, dark room while he told me everything in hushed tones, and the separation had reminded us how much we love each other and how great and faithful God is.
You might say that that first grown-up purchase has been a rather literal foundation for the past eleven years of living. It’s amazing what God can use to help you appreciate what you’ve been through together.
Today I watched that mattress march right out the door with another young couple. We bought a new mattress. Some kind of nifty, foamy, all-the-rage new thing. Last night we slept on it, and we tossed and turned here and there, trying to get used to a new feeling in such a familiar space.
Chad told me he felt stressed last night, afraid that I was uncomfortable in our new bed. I think it’s going to work out just fine. I have no doubt that lots more life will be lived there, in a rather unlikely spot, but one that seems to have the power, every single night, to bring us back together. No matter what happens in the course of our day, there we land when the world is sleeping, and I almost never fail to laugh, to feel loved, to remember why I’m so glad that I spend my nights sleeping on a rather nice mattress next to a true friend.