Babies sure can teach us a lot about life, can’t they? My second baby is schooling me on relationships right now, and I’m listening, little man, I am listening.
Even when all of his needs are met–full belly, sufficiently burped, dry diaper–he still requires nearness. He cries persistently until I stop what I’m doing and lay with him while he drifts off. I don’t know if my firstborn was more independent, requiring less touch, or if his touch-receptors were saturated because I had no one else to care for, but this time around, my sweet second baby sure lets me know when I’ve been too busy. When I’ve met his needs but haven’t really met him that day.
He forces me to slow down, tells me in tears to just let the sink hold the dirty dishes and the laundry basket hold the unfolded clothes, and just be with him–talk to him, laugh with him, make ridiculous sounds and faces for him, give him thousands of kisses, and fall asleep with our hearts beating in synch. A time to be terribly unproductive but wonderfully invested.
And here lies the life lesson, dear ones: a relationship is more than just need-meeting, it’s intimacy too. It’s enjoyment, it’s comfort, it’s physical and emotional nearness. It’s resigning ourselves from the busyness that will always be there and just loving each other. Time is the most precious resource we have. When we invest our time into relationships, it’ll never come up void.
Even if we don’t realize it, our souls crave intimacy when we’re on need-meeting autopilot with the ones we love; we yearn for nearness when we’ve grown distant.
That’s true for the friend who needed you when the bad news came, and you sent flowers and you showed up for the visitations but you were never really there.
That’s true when you send your parents’ call to voicemail because you’re busy, but then a day goes by or a week or a few weeks. And sure, you’ll be there for the next holiday, but maybe they just need to hear how your day was and nothing more.
That’s true when your husband gets home from work and all that you can see is another pair of hands to hold a fussy baby or finish off bath time. And yeah, it’s nice to have the extra help but that’s the man you love walking through the door for the first time today. He does more than double the parenting force, he’s got those arms that feel so good when wrapped around you and those lips that have needed kissing all day.
Slow down, dear ones. Relationships are more than checklists. It’s not just about meeting each other’s needs and moving on. It’s about leaving behind what busies us and being close enough to take a breath together. Intimacy. Comfort. Enjoyment. Nearness. It’s the best investment we can make today.
I hear you, little man, closing the laptop now.