The baby is crying, my toddler is throwing his socks into the trash, our three year old is peeing in the flower garden, my five year old is pulling on my apron to show me the 59th picture she has drawn me today, my seven year old comes in with a bloody gash because of his most recent stunt on his bike, and my fourteen year old has an algebra question that is beyond my capability as I try to throw dinner together and talk to my Mom on the phone. My brain starts to melt down because it is all so overwhelming. I peek at the clock and think... he should be home soon and then I can breathe easier.
Then the cell phone goes off with a text "Sorry, am running late. Job is taking longer than I thought. Don't hold dinner for me." Instead of empathizing with what my husband is going through I have a pity party for myself and it is easy to allow resentment to creep in.
It had been a long week of temper tantrums, sleepless nights due to little ones waking up, bandages for boo boos, a malfunctioning dishwasher, a dryer that does not want to dry properly after having it serviced, running errands, teaching school, and a sense of overwhelm that was palpable in the air.
Headlights turn into our driveway and before he finishes parking the vehicle, six souls who call him "Daddy" scramble to the door to greet him. He enters our home covered in insulation, sweat, and a bit bloodied and bruised. I look at him with concern and he just says "it's nothing to worry about, just a little scratch". The children obviously are unaware of Daddy's exhaustion as they pounce on him and regale him with stories about their day.
"I can do a new stunt on my bike!"
" I peed in Mommy's flowers."
"I caught a new bug for my collection."
"I made you a card."
"Wanna hear my new joke?"
He does not complain. Instead, he welcomes them.
I breathe deeply.
He is home. Safe. Thank you Lord.
We don't have a lot of time to connect these days and I confess, there are times where I become resentful and bitter. There are times where I cry because I want a husband who is able to be more available, who is able to go out on a date night more than once/twice a year. A husband who can stay awake beside me to talk at night or share a quiet moment once the children are asleep. Tonight I longed to snuggle up beside him and watch a movie... something other than a Pixar film. We sit side by side on the couch and press "play". I knew once I felt his body relax beside me that it was over. He was gone. The snoring began and rather than becoming angry, tears filled my eyes.
I studied this man whom I have been married to for sixteen years.
His beard now flecked with silver, his hands are calloused, spotted with paint, nicked and worn from 12 hour days. He comes home exhausted from working 65 hours a week and yet he smiles, the laugh lines are evident on his face, that handsome face that captivated me oh so long ago and that still makes my heart beat rapidly.
Here was this man who breaks his body daily to put bread on our table. He works so hard so I can be home to teach the children and raise them up with the values we have put into place. The sacrifice he makes to our family is beyond what I ever imagined. He sacrifices his sleep and is awake well before the sun rises in order to get to his first job. Then while I am gathering the children around the table to eat breakfast and do our devotions, he is driving to his second job with hardly any time between shifts to have a break.
I have been so selfish.
I have only seen the piles of extra laundry from working in construction, the unfinished projects because "he is never home", the lack of date nights and cancelled plans because of long hours. I missed the big picture.
He does all of this because of his vast love for me and our family.
The tears coursed down my cheeks and my teenage son looked across the room at me as if asking "Are you okay?"
I replied "I just love your Daddy so much."
"I know you do Mom."
Then a voice says groggily "I love you too" before the snoring returns. My heart breaks as the guilt hits.
He does this for you.
It is not that he wants to be away from us for so long, he does not want to beat up his body every day with such physical labor just to make ends meet, he wants to provide for us and to show us his love by keeping a roof over our heads, food on our table and for me to be able to live out my dream of being at home to be with our beautiful children.
He chooses to sacrifice himself so I can be in this place at this time because it is what is best for our family.
He is a humble man, one who does not complain or whine. He takes what life hands him and makes the most of it. He comes home exhausted and pours himself out until there just isn't any more left to give.
I finally get it... finally see the truth rather than my selfish desires.
My darling husband, for all the times I have been exasperated, for all the times I have misunderstood you, and for the times I have simply not recognized how amazing you are... I am sorry.
I love you and cherish you. Thank you for all that you do for me and our family.