Originally published Monday, 21 January 2013.
Friday night before last was date night.
The first one in a while.
We went to dinner and a movie and spent a child-free evening in each other's company.
It was glorious.
Getting dressed up. Doing my hair. Having adult conversation. Not being interrupted for board-book reading, tower building, diaper changing or finger food prep. I just got to sit next to the dreamiest guy I know. Hold hands, share some movie theater candy, set the butterflies in my stomach all aflutter once again.
The next morning, I woke up, looking forward to a weekend full of family time and togetherness... feeling light-headed and nauseous, achy and congested.
UGH! The flu hath struck. Weekend ruined.
I've been sick for a week. It has been far from glorious.
Fever, shivers, aches and pains (it's a bad thing when even your hair hurts, right?). Chapped lips and nostrils. Baggy pajamas and greasy hair. Crazy (but, thankfully, healthy) toddler under foot. Mama languishing on the couch, melting beneath my blankets. Watching the dreamiest guy I know take the brunt of the parenting and household responsibilities.
And the butterflies in my stomach more than fluttered.
Because this is where love is lived. Not when we are looking and feeling our best. But instead, when I'm hideous, delirious, and unhelpful and our child is a crazy tornado and he would rather be doing a million other things, but instead this beautiful man sets aside his desires and plans and just plain loves me.
This was definitely not his ideal weekend.
This husband of mine, he relishes a productive weekend. It's one of his favorite things after sandwiches and cheese. Sorting through mail and bills, organizing, tackling household projects, picking up, putting away. He loves a clean organized home on a Sunday night. Loves the feeling of going to work on Monday morning knowing his To Do list took a hit over the weekend.
Instead, I was sicker than sick. Crazy Toddler was busier than ever. Sunday night our home was far from tidy. Toys covered the floor. Kleenex covered every surface.
This was definitely not his ideal week either.
For the last 7 days, he cared for me, replenishing my vitamins and beverages and Kleenex. Taking my temperature, bringing me snacks and meals, comforting me in my discomfort. Caring for our child all on his own after a long day's work, with our cluttered crazy house to come home to every night. Poor, wonderful, fantastic husband of mine.
Is it strange to fall more in love while popping Sudafed, with snot streaming, then by candle light, with wine flowing?
I thank God for this man who will change diapers and make dinner and ready a toddler for bed. Then love me and coddle me and nurse me back to health, with my greasy face and faded plaid pajamas.
These "sick days in" are where memories are made in the ordinary. Where I fall in love again.
Where I fall more in love with him than on date night. When I see his love lived out and recognize how very lucky I am. I chose this man because he was handsome and funny and smelled good and told me I was pretty. I chose this man because of all of our impressive date nights out.
I am so very lucky to have discovered the real benefit of my choice. All the nights in. His faithful service and love when I'm not at my best, when I'm not pretty or funny or smell good. He remains kind and generous and so very, very good.
These Sick-Day-Date-Nights have reminded me. The essence of a "date" is not the clothes or location or activity. It's bonding. It's memory making. It's connecting, uniting, tying tighter the ties that bind.
I feel more tightly bound to this man after his sacrificial love over the past several days. I feel more connected, more united after the TV shows watched and meals shared even though I blew my nose and coughed and groaned throughout.
I remember the "date nights in" we spent together when our baby was brand new.
Watching movies and eating snacks in bed and laughing at things that probably weren't that funny due to our sleepless delirium. How I was fat and helpless, recovering from our child's birth (both physically and emotionally). How he cared for me so faithfully. How I cried in my fear and insecurity and hormones, and he loved me, comforted, listened, encouraged.
Those were beautiful times. Where we loved each other deeply, breaking bread over the ordinary moments, lifting one another up through exhausting, trying times.
These moments together, when one of us nurtures and coddles the other, this is where our foundation is strengthened.
Relying on the strength of the other when we are feeling weak. Leaning on each other in turn, when we aren't picture perfect. No fancy dinner out, just sitting on the couch, talking, eating, laughing, sharing. Snot-nosed and all.
Just we two, where this family began. This man and me. In sickness and in health.