Tension crept up my neck and stabbed wriggling tentacles of anxiety into my muscles as Jackson’s wail echoed down the hallway. I squinted at the alarm clock, although the room’s darkness hinted that dawn was still hours away.
Crawling out of bed, I inched my way towards Jackson’s room, trying to avoid the maze of boxes. It had been a couple weeks since my husband Matt and I had moved, but most of our belongings still resided in boxes with another move just weeks away. I reached Jackson’s room and gently cradled him. He was hungry — again.
As I settled into the rocking chair, I had to wonder at our sanity. In the last month and a half we’d welcomed the birth of our first baby, celebrated Matt’s graduation from seminary, moved out of seminary housing, and decided on a job offer near Orlando, which was no where near our friends and family in Michigan. And in just a few weeks, we would make the cross-country move to Florida.
Jackson whimpered again, and I walked down the hallway, cooing to my son. This had been my life the past few weeks —walking, bouncing, singing and walking some more. It took several minutes before I realized that in a couple of hours the sun would dawn on June 15th, our third wedding anniversary. It startled me that the thought brought no feelings of anticipation or romantic emotions. I was tired. Jackson was still crying, and I was clueless as to how to plan a dreamy evening with a baby’s cry providing the dinner music. Besides, a year ago on June 15th my dad had succumbed to a brain tumor, and that pain still drifted through my life. I watched Jackson’s eyes finally close behind his curtain of eyelashes and felt quite certain that today would not be a day of celebration.
As the day wore on, a twinge of disappointment played on the edge of my emotions. My weary heart craved some time alone with my husband. I knew Matt wanted to celebrate our three years together, too, but he also was sensitive to my feelings about my dad’s death. Besides, he didn’t know how to plan around Jackson either.
Then the phone rang. “Hi! Happy Anniversary!”
“Thanks for remembering,” I said weakly, amazed that my best friend had remembered the special day when I had nearly forgotten.
“Guess what! You guys are going out tonight, and I’m coming over to watch Jackson!”
“What?” It took several seconds before I realized that Karen was offering a small escape from the crying, walking and bouncing. I couldn’t say thank you fast enough!
That evening Matt and I cuddled close together in a small restaurant, talking and sitting silently, soaking up each other’s love. I knew in a few minutes I’d hurry back to Jackson, but for that hour I was refreshed by the thoughtfulness of a friend. And I discovered the necessity of escape, if only for a few moments.