Dear husband,

I didn’t know how it would go with your being home so much now. 

We typically live a chaotic life with our three kids, two full-time jobs, and a demanding dog.  You travel all over the country, working hard for our family. I’m used to nights alone in our bed. We’ve spent too many hours fighting over things that just don’t matter.

Sometimes we are like two ships passing in the night.

I’m headed to a soccer tournament just as you are arriving home from a trip. You leave for work before the rest of the house wakes up. I stay up late trying to finish the chores of the day.

I could say it was the distractions of our life that got in our way. I could blame that you work too much or that the kids are too busy or that I don’t know how to say no to a request.

We’ve kept our union strong, but not without its problems. There are times we get complacent. There are times we lash out on who is doing more. There are times after two decades of being together we put our relationship on auto-pilot.

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There are times we are on parallel paths headed in the same direction, but we are not traveling together. You took care of your to-do list, I checked off mine. Our days and actions became so rote that we settled into a stultifying routine. 

There was always love, but it was hidden underneath the layers of busy and distractedness and work and activities.

And now that you are here in our house 24/7, I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I was waiting for you to get frustrated with the noise level while on the phone with your colleagues. I thought I’d get annoyed at the dishes you keep leaving in the sink.  

But the truth is, this was the disruptor our marriage needed.

I don’t want to waste one moment not loving you. I’m no longer willing to be careless with the time we have together.

There will be a day when we go back to our lives. Things will be different, but the kids will play sports again and you’ll travel for work and I’ll try to keep up with it all, but I’ll never take you for granted again.

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I’ve loved the moments we’re spending together in the quiet of the home we’ve built together—drinking our coffee slowly at the kitchen table, holding hands on the couch as we watch television, long hugs in front of messes that neither of us notices right now.

You sense when the world is feeling too heavy, and quell the fear that is rising in my chest. I try to make your life easier as you attempt to navigate your job as an essential worker in this new economy.

And the only thing I know for sure is how grateful I am for each second we get to spend together, for every moment we have with our little family who is safe under our roof for one more day.

I’m not happy about this pandemic. I’m not happy about the wake of destruction it’s causing across our globe.

But I’ll no longer be careless with the time we have together, dear husband.

And for that, and for you, I’ll always be thankful.

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a communications consultant, and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays.