All it took was a few ice bullets.
I've been scanning few articles lately about marriage. This time of year it is a popular editorial and blog topic with so many newlyweds back from their summer honeymoons. Articles about what it takes to have a happy marriage, to stay together, to not get bored, to fight less, to love more, to make it through rough times, to be a team during parenting, etc. etc. etc. I have a few years of marriage under my belt now, so I can look at those and laugh, scoff, agree, shake my fist, and have a bit of confidence that I know a thing or two. There is no one answer that works for every couple for anything, no matter how many lists try to tell you otherwise. One thing that all of those articles have in common, though, is that none of them mentioned ice bullets.
My husband and I have three kids. A five-year-old son and twin eight-month-old daughters. We have full-time jobs. Right now, there is not much life outside of those two topics. Our time together is spent juggling children and everything that goes with them. During this season of life there is no time or money for dates, presents, vacations, clothes without spit-up or conversations longer than three sentences. If I'm being honest, marital health is pretty low on the list of things either of us think about on a regular day (as far as I can tell, anyway). But it is vital for us to remember each other every now and again, even if it is in the middle of a three-ring-circus.
Our ice-maker in the freezer sprung a leak a few weeks ago, so the hose was disconnected until it could be replaced. Suddenly it was June and summer and no ice. Sure, the fridge keeps beverages cold enough, but sometimes in the summer I just really like ice in my drinks. (why didn't we just use old-fashioned ice trays, you ask? because we got rid of them long ago. who needs ice trays when you have an ice-maker in your freezer?) So every couple of days I would mention how much I missed ice. Then my husband would mention that it would be an easy fix, he just needed the time to get to the store to buy it and fix it. Repeat. Time is in short supply, and we still don't have ice.
Yesterday I was prepping all of the supplies needed to batch cook and puree baby food. We have special trays for freezing the food in small portions, and I looked all over the kitchen without finding the one I needed. After I yelled into the general vicinity of baby shrieking and toy crashing to inquire if he knew where it was, he walked in with a sheepish grin and said that he was trying to do something nice for me, but I had spoiled the surprise. I was in the middle of work-mode and completely taken aback that he was talking about nice surprises when I just needed a baby food tray. He pulled the tray out of the freezer full of mostly-solid, glorious ice chunks in what looked like over-sized bullets from the shape of the holders. That seemingly mundane act of freezing water, in this time of our lives, held the equivalent weight of a dozen roses and a romantic dinner out.
So, bloggers, journalists, and women's magazine headline-writers, there's your next scoop. How do you show affection to your spouse when you haven't slept past 5:30 am or eaten hot food for dinner in the past year? Listen for the little things. And ice cubes.