Things had gone down hill quickly.
Wasn’t I dancing to the radio across our living room floor, my toddler boy smiling in my arms each time I twirled, just twenty minutes ago? Now I lay on the couch, fetal position, hugging a throw blanket tight to my chest. I weighed the option of another cup of coffee, yet the hour was getting late. And I should probably call it quits at 4 cups.
My husband had worked the day before. It’s a rare occasion that he works on a weekend, and my body and spirit were begging for a break. But here we were on Monday. And my husband texts me to say he’ll be home late. An eleven hour day. For him—and me.
It was that frightening hour. You know. 4 pm. Before the husband gets home. And when you have just about reached the end of all you can give. And still someone is asking for something—or ten things at once.
And you find yourself unable to peel yourself away from the couch. Yet dinner remains in ingredient form, waiting to be composed into something edible.
My oldest asks me to join him at the table. He’s created an off road track out of Play Doh for his Matchbox cars, and needs someone to come pull out one of the trucks whose four-wheel-drive has failed. I tell him not now; bury my head deeper into the back of the couch.
My husband texts, and I scrounge for a morsel of energy to drag myself off that sofa. I walk to the counter, willing myself to ignore the pile of dirty dishes as I reach for my phone. He’s on his way. I calculate the drive down from his job site in the mountains. An hour. Dinner still waits to be assembled.
“I am beat” I text back.
There’s a funny smell wafting from the kitchen. The closet. Those potatoes sitting in a bowl, forgotten, sprouting. I need to toss those.
And wash the dishes.
My phone dings as it receives his reply.
We got this babe.
You’re a rockstar!”
I stop. Close my eyes. Breathe a prayer of thanks. This man, I tell you. Almost 7 years have passed since we cried through those vows and sealed them with a kiss.
And he still knows just what to say.
I take a deep breath, and call my boys over to the couch. We pile high a stack of books and set them beside us. And for the next forty-five minutes, we devour that pile. They point, ask questions, seek answers, and store away new knowledge in their ever-growing minds. They mull over what animals have hooves, how a tadpole turns into a frog, and how a hydraulic hammer truck chips away at a mountain to form the roads we drive up every weekend.
We set the last book down, and I sit between my boys. They say a power nap can do wonders for your energy. But perhaps a power story time can, too. I send them back to the table and help them construct a new off road track. Then I load the dishwasher, grab a cutting board, season the chicken, steam the rice, rinse the green beans.
Just an hour before, as I had laid on that couch, guilt had washed over me as I pictured my husband walking in—again—to a defeated wife. A messy house. And no dinner.
But those words. “We’ve got this babe. You’re a rockstar.” They were a breath of life. A change of perspective. A shift in my day.
Just that morning, 12 long hours ago I had read it, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24) But those long hours, they had distracted me from that thought…until he reminded me.
With one little message sent rapid speed through the satellites, from up in the Rockies down to our home in the foothills—straight into my spirit. “We’ve got this”. Gracious words, indeed.
It makes me wonder….whose day could we turn around with a few simple words? A quick text message? A sticky note left in their lunch box, or on the dashboard of his truck?
Who could we remind today that they are a rockstar in our eyes?
Who could we convince, in a simple sentence or two, that “You’ve got this”, and with those words empower them to dig deep and press on?
Perhaps it’s time to stretch our vocabulary when it comes to saying “I love you.” Maybe it’s time to begin saying it in a way that makes our loved ones stop. Read it again. Breathe deep. And truly believe it when we say, “You’ve got this. You’re a rockstar!”