I sat slowly on the couch, blearily rubbing sleep from my eyes and blinking to try to bring the living room into focus. My knee was throbbing slightly from running into the door jamb again, and I moaned quietly about having to be up before the sun.
Then I heard it. The wonderful, mood-altering sound of liquid being poured came from the next room. The spoon clinked musically against the rim of my favorite porcelain mug. I knew it would be my favorite mug – my Mommy mug with all of my children’s faces on it – because it always is.
As my husband’s footsteps drew nearer, I could smell the bittersweet aroma of coffee, the only thing that could shock this night owl into wakefulness before dawn. I took the mug, inhaled deeply, and took that first sip of liquid heaven.
I haven’t always been a coffee drinker. As a matter of fact, I never particularly cared for the stuff at all, until I got married.
On our honeymoon, since we wanted to spend every moment together, I started joining my new husband in his morning cup of coffee. I had no idea how to make it, so I relied on him, my resident expert, to make that first cup for me. He added the cream and sugar I requested, while grimacing in distaste of what that would do to such a fine roast. We sat together in a sunny spot with our matching hotel mugs, watching our shiny new rings glint as we drank quietly together on that first full day of our new future.
Almost 15 years and four kids later, and my husband still makes that first cup of coffee for me.
It’s not so much about spending time together anymore, since by the time I get up in the morning my husband has usually already had his coffee, fed the dogs and had his quiet time. I’m still a blinking zombie when he gets up to get ready for work. On those days that he has to leave before I get up, he pours the cream and sugar in my mug, sets it by the coffee pot, and puts a spoon out for me to stir. However, that first cup that he makes me means so much more to me now than it did when I was a young 23 year old with no idea what the future would bring.
That mug of coffee is my husband saying, I love you.
I love you even though you’re 15 years older now.
I love you with your bed head and your morning breath.
I love you even though we had a fight yesterday and went to bed angry.
I love you even though I just watched you run into a wall that hasn’t moved in all the years we have lived here.
I love you when I’m running late and need to focus on my own stuff.
I love you even though your body reflects the badges and battle scars of four pregnancies.
I love you enough to know what you need and what you like, and to provide it for you without you having to ask for it.
I love you enough to give.
I love you enough to serve.
There are so many days in this season of life that we don’t see each other much. Between busy work schedules, an increasing number of activities and commitments for our children, not to mention evening meetings for our different volunteer work, there have been days when we won’t see each other for 16 or more hours after that morning kiss goodbye. By the time we get home, get the children in bed and finally have a few minutes of quiet, there is a solid chance one or the other of us will fall asleep on the couch within ten minutes of sitting down. Those first days of our honeymoon, with unlimited time and meandering walks on the beach, are a fond and distant memory.
On those days, those ships passing in the night days, when the best we can do is an end-of-the-day reminder that dinner has been kept warm on the stove, my morning cup of coffee is a touchstone for me. It says, I’m here. I’m still with you. I love you.
So marry the one who brings you coffee. Marry the one who will take the time to give you the things you need. Perhaps, for you, it’s not coffee. Maybe it’s a hug at the end of a long day. Or a break from the children while you take some time for yourself. Perhaps it’s a full tank of gas when you start the car, even though the fuel light was on the day before. Maybe it’s recognizing that you were out of milk and picking it up before coming home, or a surprise candy bar on a hard day. It could be holding hands during a movie in a dark theater, or watching a game with you and wearing your team’s colors.
Whatever it is, whatever that small thing or gesture or gift may be for you, recognize it for what it is.
I’m here. I’m still with you. I love you.