“I made good coffee. Twice!” I came into the office today and announced with genuine pride. Amidst the laughter and teasing, I firmly stand on my achievement. Allow me to explain, just a bit. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen years. I loved my role and mastered many appliances during that season. The chopper and canner during salsa season; the art of making pepper jelly; baking. . . I’m your gal! Meals galore were created, presented, and devoured throughout that season. I’m no Top Chef candidate, more of a Tastes of Home contender.  During those years, I never drank coffee. I just didn’t get it. . . It was bitter and black, yuck!  At forty, I re-entered the work force; with three kids and a growing need for caffeine, I soon discovered the blissful addition of cream, sugar, and caramel. . . ahhh, goodbye bitter blackness (hello calories.) My love for coffee was born.

Since I’m a ‘late adopter’ my husband was, is, and forever will be our barista. He makes a mighty fine cup. Weirdly, he likes it dark and black; therefore when he makes it, I add a whole bunch of naughtiness and drink away. I am not addicted (really.) Since he’s the designated barista I’m stuck if there’s no coffee, I’m out of luck. Things recently changed with his pending 10 day absence. I meticulously wrote directions for the two foreign appliances I know nothing about, the coffee maker and grinder. Even for a social drinker, ten days is a loooong time.

It’s funny but that simple act of making coffee got me contemplating all the things my husband does that I either don’t notice or have complacently taken for granted. My own lengthy to do list keeps me so pre-occupied that I rarely notice his to-do list which provides me comfort and reprieve. This leads me to a conclusion: little things matter. A lot.

With his absence, I now realize the many ‘to dos’ not on my radar: far beyond making coffee. You may be thinking; “But making coffee is no big deal.” If so, you’re right, coffee making is miniscule, and there are other little things I have not mastered either. My laughing colleagues pointed to several examples including a tv remote. That along with the afore mentioned barista service, kept them quite entertained, at my expense.

Whatever! I have strengths too (see pepper jelly above.)

An old saying causes me to reflect further, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Now that he is away and I am forced into ‘detecting’ how much I am not responsible for, I ponder this saying, in the midst of frantically driving, working, cooking, parenting, and the list goes on. . . we are a team. Within our team we have roles and are independent, but we also rely on each other- a lot. Our marriage is a partnership.  Yup, I know it sounds pretty simple, but in practice it took years to work out the kinks and the conflict.

Time apart forces me back to basics. Basic survival mode, for sure; it’s really hectic around here! But also, I’m revisiting the basics of our partnership. I really appreciate so much about that man. I’m humbled by how I‘ve not appreciated many of his strengths because I took them for granted, because they were ‘normal’ and I was complacent. This new perspective enables me to consider; am I growing our relationship or stressing it? The answer depends upon where my focus lies: strengths or weaknesses. This awareness enriches my marriage as I focus on and appreciate his strengths.  If I focus on the negatives (which I’ve been known to do occasionally) the opposite is true. Intentional awareness and appreciation are my basics, the life lessons during this ten day separation.

So upon making coffee, driving kids, food prep, working, forgetting garbage day (twice), feeding the dog, etc . . . I gain new perspective. This brings me to gratitude, my final reflection. I developed a practice of gratitude recently which changed my perspective. I realize, people thrive with positive input like gratitude. I want us to thrive. Marriage is the perfect place to be grateful. I know is sounds pretty basic, but it’s important to revisit the basics, after all – they work.

Our 10-day absence has left me with a new fondness – the saying is true. I miss my partner, my friend.

And. . . I appreciate you Honey!

Written by Beth Scholes

Beth Scholes

Beth is passionate about helping families not just survive but thrive. Beth works for FamilyLife Canada as Content Manager. She married Darcy in 1989, they have three children. She is currently enjoying parenting teens and a young adult. Beth loves to read, roller-blade, play board games and socialize.