Monday, 12 January 2009

The gift of a month

In the midst of the sadness, I realized today that I have been given the gift of a month.

James and I were married five and a half years ago. The first year of our marriage I was in my last year of university in film, which meant spending every waking minute working on writing and producing and directing and editing my major film project. James worked on it alongside me, but this project took most of our focus that first year.

After graduation we received another film project, that slid right into my first pregnancy. The next 4 years of our marriage has been taken up by pregnancies and babies. I lose the nine months of pregnancy to illness, and then, as is typical, the first year of a baby's life is a blur of sleepless nights and barely awake days.

This brings us right up to today. We had slid right from Caleb's first baby year into another pregnancy, and now that is no longer the case. We are ready to try again, but must wait for a month for medical reasons.

And so I realized, I have been given the gift of a month.

A month during which I have energy. A month during which I will not feel ill. A month to catch up on cleaning (a real, deep clean such as is rarely done around here!). A month to play with my children. A month to reconnect with my husband.

It is this last one that I feel most keenly. The illness and exhaustion are par for the course. The cleaning...well, there's always tomorrow. My children I see and play with daily - pregnant, ill or not. But time with James...that I am really cherishing. Time to play and love and talk and eat and enjoy life together. Time to remember the little things. Time to remember first, new, and exciting love.

New love is about being focused on each other, trying to devise ingenious means of capturing the other person's attention and create endless ways to say I love you. There are the small things, the medium things, and the big things. New love is about effortless effort. But as time goes on and relationships deepen, complacency and comfort set in. We don't love them any less, we just don't show it as often.

Added to time, for me, was illness and sleeplessness, which meant collapsing into bed each evening, with little energy to give to the one I love most. I am reminded of the lyrics of a song:
"Are you giving the least to those who matter most
Or are you sharing your best with those who really aren't that close?
Well it's time to turn around,
And find out where your greatest joys are found."
It's easy to lose focus on what is important. Yes, my service to my fellow-men is needed to improve the world around me. Yes, my children need me during their childhood and youth. But my husband is my companion for eternity. This is a relationship that will outlast all others. It shouldn't be said that because it will always be there, there is no need to nurture it. Because it will always be there, it must demand my constant attention.

I am grateful for this gift of a month. I will not take it for granted.

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