I received an unexpected sweet treat from an admirer last Valentine's Day. A delightful half dozen previously enjoyed donut holes upchucked all over my lap by my adoring almost 2-year-old son. Not an ideal way to start a day meant to be full of romance and affection. Although, I suppose you could say this is ultimately where romance and affection leads.
No dressing up and hitting the town for us. I sported my mom bun and a fresh pair of yoga pants for the rest of the day. While my friends were getting bouquets delivered to their cubicles, I delivered Pedialyte popsicles and fresh puke buckets to my sick children on the couch. Stomach viruses are a nasty business, especially when the ones infected don't know how to sit on a toilet, much less get to one in time to blow grits in it.
My sweet babies were miserable and there was nothing I could do beyond giving cuddles, trying to keep them hydrated, and praying. At last, my knight in shining armor came home with take-out and a growler of honey mead for me. He put the children to bed while I ate and then helped me finish a project for a deadline I had.
The moment my lap became soiled with regurgitated sugar balls, my romantic expectations for the day went from a movie scene out of The Notebook to one from True Grit. I was free to treat the day like any other day in the trenches of motherhood. It was gross and difficult, but I was doing what moms are designed to do: nurture their children and pray for them.
I struggle with anxiety, especially when it comes to my babies' health. I have learned I need to go to God before Google when an illness is in our house. Consequently, I spend more time praying throughout these days than any other, which puts my mind on God. When my mind is on Him I am more aware of His love and provision in my life.
Humble yourselves...casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.1 Peter 5:6-7 CSB
At the end of the day, instead of expecting anything from me, my husband addressed my most basic needs at that moment: food, parental relief, and a deadline. It may not sound like much, but I believe he was doing what husbands are called to do. He loved me sacrificially.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.Ephesians 5:25 CSB
Sometimes I think I know what love is, and then I experience God's version of it. His love is so much better than anything I could ever imagine. Romance may be the giant jumbotron gestures, but true love can be found in the unsung moments of motherhood and marriage.