I woke up one morning a few years ago feeling really guilty.
I groggily moved through my morning routine feeling awful about throwing a childish tantrum the night before about how I couldn’t keep the house clean.
It had been a LONG couple of months – Jeff had been overwhelmed and busy with life, family, and work, and I was gladly picking up the pieces so that he wouldn’t have to worry about it.
But I was tired, and I let it get to me.
I had found our cute little floor mat in our bathroom sopping wet and crumpled up in the middle of the bathroom floor – the one that I love to dry my feet on – and a few months of exhaustion unleashed itself on this poor bath mat, which I snatched up and threw – sopping wet – across the garage at the washing machine.
Jeff watched the whole thing stunned, but I was too tired to say anything. Instead, I crawled into bed, and fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, after washing and getting dressed, I found Jeff to apologize for throwing our innocent bath mat across the garage. The poor thing didn’t deserve it.
It was just a floor mat, after all.
Before I could say anything though, he said, “Did you see the house?”
I stared blankly at him, then gazed around at the living room expecting to find the still lingering remnants of a birthday party from weeks before and a pile of bags leftover from a road trip from a month before.
It was gone. My eyes adjusted and I stood confused. Why did the house look so different?
And then it dawned on me. OMG it was clean!!
Jeff, apparently, had been unable to fall asleep that night.
In the morning, he had to take his brother to the airport at 4:00am, and when he returned to the house after dropping him off, instead of landing right back in bed, he stayed up and cleaned for the next three hours.
He did EVERYTHING. He picked up the birthday party, did away with the road trip piles, and filled the dishwasher with every dish and coffee mug that he could find that had lodged itself on our side tables, closets, bathrooms, and desks of the house.
He swept the floors and shined the kitchen counters. He scrubbed the bathroom and threw away the random produce that was making a perma-home on top of the microwave. He cleaned up his desk in the office, and worked through the ‘to do at some point’ stack of mail, putting invitations and birthdays and showers on the calendar as he went along.
He organized his scrap woodpile and swept out the garage. He cleaned up his workbench and put away his tools. He washed his dirty workshop rags and did a load of excess linens that had been waiting in the ‘when I have time’ pile… including the wet floor mat from the bathroom.
All before 7:00am.
All because he knew that my love language is Acts of Service.
And yes, I felt loved. Mucho loved.
And the piles of random life that were making themselves feel a little too at home in the corners of our house were eradicated.
We were back to a house that felt like a refuge from the worries of life instead of a symptom of it.
We were back to us.
And that’s why I felt so loved. Jeff can always bring us back to ‘us’ when I need it the most.