My days are filled to the brim right now as the garden spills produce onto my counters and overflows to the bowls waiting patiently on the table. Time is the enemy of freshness, and so I work, around the clock, racing to preserve these blessings. I imagine cold winter days, and feeling satisfied while we gather around the table. I'm hoping the aches in my shoulders and feet that come from standing on a hard tile floor for hours upon hours will be long forgotten by then.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the tasks at hand, ignoring the dog who lies silently at my feet, her ball tucked under her, ready for any spare moment that I might desire to play fetch. It's easy to apologize as I place supper on the table far after the dinner hour is over and younger children should be tucked in bed for the night.
I engage in conversation with the children throughout the day as we work side by side. We feel like a team, each one of us busy at his or her tasks working toward a common goal.
And then the phone rings.
I'm surrounded by jelly jars, sugar and pectin. Green beans overflow their containers and stick to shirts much to the amusement of some of the team members. He has a drive ahead of him and wants to pass the time by talking to me. Doesn't he know how busy I am trying to provide for our family? How can I talk when I have to stir continuously for one minute and then bottle this liquid gold?
My shoulders tighten as I hurry him off of the phone. Actually, he does understand how busy I am; he was just thinking of me and wanted to let me know that he loves me. Oh, and a question. Would I like to ride with him to tend to an errand later this evening? We hastily say good-bye, and sadness overtakes my weariness. He just wanted to let me know that he loves me.
He's on my mind all afternoon as I work through the half- bushel of peaches. I hate peaches. He loves them. And I love him, despite my attitude on the phone. With each peach I peel and slice, I find my heart softening, repenting of my harshness. Why am I so hasty with my words? It isn't easy to say I'm sorry and not sound trite. I resolve to do better, to make time for him in the midst of my busy-ness.
I keep an eye on the clock, working quickly, calculating the time of his arrival. Our oldest girl watches me, and knowing that I'm waiting for her daddy, offers to finish my task while I clean myself up.
I head for the shower washing away the tension from the long day. I dress carefully, in something alluring, applying make-up and fixing my hair. I return to the kitchen with just a few minutes to spare. My helper comments, "WOW! Dad is going to say, 'You look like that and you made me peach jam?' "
That's exactly what I'm hoping for.
He doesn't disappoint. He never does. As quickly as I push him out of the way when I'm busy, he's just as quick to make time for me. A lingering kiss, a long conversation. It really doesn't take much to make someone feel loved.
He's thrilled to find out that I will be accompanying him on his errand. Just the two of us. And though we're going nowhere special, the fact that I've made an effort for him is greatly appreciated. His kisses tell me so. And when we return from our errand, he helps snap the beans.