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Yesterday when my husband arrived home from work, I was met with a “you didn’t put my coffee cup out this morning.” 

My back was to him. I was standing at the sink hand washing our daughter’s sippy cup. As I turned around, he must have read the emotion on my face because I didn’t have to say a word before he chimed in with a “no, no, I don’t expect you to! It was just a good reminder of all of the little things you do that I guess I just get used to and maybe don’t notice and appreciate.”

Okay, I liked that better. I appreciated the acknowledgment. Honestly, the habit of setting out his coffee cup has become second nature, it doesn’t take but a second, and it makes his morning just slightly smoother.

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Every evening while making our toddler and 10-month-old daughters dinner, I prep our coffee for the next day. I set out my mug and his to-go cup so we each have one less step to take in the morning rush. 

Thinking back to the night before, I can now remember why it didn’t get set out.

He wasn’t home because he was working late. Our 2-year-old was unsatisfied with the temperature of her dino nuggets and was throwing them and a tantrum all over the room. Our 10-month-old was crying because she dropped her milk cup on the floor and I hadn’t gotten to it yet. I was done setting the coffee pot timer for the next morning when I was on my hands and knees cleaning up the urine under my toddler’s booster seat. She had had an accident and was starting to regress with her potty training, which she sometimes does when he is working a lot of overtime. 

At that point, I could smell the food on the stovetop burning that I was prepping for my husband and me when he got home. It was a chaotic 30 minutes, and I had to get the girls in the bath because mom needed bedtime to get here just as much as they did. Needless to say, neither of our cups was set out that night.

Fast-forward to my husband telling me I didn’t set his cup out and then telling me how much he appreciates those little things. It got me thinking. My favorite part of marrying my best friend is the little things we do for one another that often go unnoticed.

I thought about the things he does for me. 

I love flowers and gardening, but with two kids under two, I’m at a point in life when my time is a little wrapped up, and I’ve had to scale back for now. I still have a small veggie garden and some potted plants on the front porch. He knows I hate heat and humidity, he also knows my two hands are full of two children. I don’t think I ever even really thanked him for it, but this summer he started getting up a little earlier to go out and water my plants at 6:15 a.m. He just did it. It makes my day easier, and it keeps one of my few pre-children hobbies alive. And while I don’t say it, I genuinely appreciate it.

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After he came home and said that and I realized how much I appreciate the little things he does, it made me realize that it is truly the little overlooked acts of love that seal a bond, not grand gestures. Daily effort to make the other one’s day flow a little easier and feel a little happier can mean just as much as sending a bouquet or a fancy night out.

One day when one of us is forced to go on living without the other him reaching for a cup that is no longer set out or me choosing to just let my plans wilt in the heat of late summer will always stand as reminders as to why we chose each other.

Appreciate the little things in your relationship for one day you will look back at them as only memories you’ll long for.

Natalie Platzkoester Pavlak

Wife to a blue-collar working man and mother of two under two. I was teaching fourth grade when the pandemic hit, and I was forced to switch to e-learning from my home. I started e-learning with a 3-month-old on my hip. My first child, first pandemic, first time e-learning, and the first time I decided I could have more than one passion. After 15 years of working with kids in daycare, teaching, camps, coaching sports, etc., my husband and I decided I was going to focus on OUR kids for a while. I now stay home with my two beautiful babies (2 under 2!) and am both teaching and learning every day.

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