It wasn’t that I didn’t want to iron my husband’s shirt this morning, but I had so much to do (I also think scrubbing three toilets is much easier than ironing one dress shirt). I also knew Chris had buffered time in his morning to iron it himself. He’s done that, and many other things I used to do for him, since 1998 when our oldest child was born.

Unfortunately, with every subsequent child, I stopped doing more things for Chris. Babies can’t feed, clothe, or bathe themselves, but subconsciously I rationalized that my husband could. But even once our kids were independent and able-bodied, they continued being my first priority.

I remember, years ago, older moms reminding our young mom’s group that our kids would eventually leave. They encouraged us not to neglect our relationships with our husbands, and to prioritize date nights and time together. They lovingly and wisely told us what we couldn’t imagine, though knew conceptually,

Someday, it would just be the two of us.

Today I read a friend’s update on her husband who’s battling pancreatic cancer. They’re empty nesters who’ve been married almost forty years. My friend wrote that every day is difficult, but ineffably precious, since they don’t know how many they have left together. As I read her words, I wept. My friend has always adored her husband. She’s taught me and many other women how to prioritize mothering and marriage, well. I cried as I read about how painful not only their daily losses felt, but also the fear of losses yet to come.

As I brushed my tears away and prayed for them, I sensed a re-ordering in my heart. Suddenly, I was immensely grateful I’d ironed Chris’ shirt earlier. I realized that none of us know how many days we have left together. And I was reminded how unspeakably and profoundly precious, “just the two of us,” really is.

(Love and praying for you, E <3)