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It’s late, I’m tired. The baby is hanging off my neck, crying, because he is also tired. I can’t keep the diaper bag from falling off my shoulder and I can’t feel my fingertips because it is that cold out. I know that I have to start dinner and I haven’t done the dishes. The baby needs to be changed and tomorrow’s to-do list is already forming in my head.

I already know that my husband has been home for at least an hour, maybe more. He’s had an erratic work schedule lately.

And before I even get my shoes off, he is grinning and spreading his arms because he has helped out and vacuumed the apartment.

This is one of those movie moments where the director zooms in on the wife, focusing on her eyes and her thoughts.

You know what my thoughts are?

So, you didn’t notice that I vacuumed two days ago? And great, you vacuumed! Want a medal! What about starting dinner? Or doing the dishes? How about you take the baby and change his diaper and comfort him because he is tired, wet and cold? And they are mean and nasty and bubbling right at the surface for just a moment.

But just a moment, because what I do is give a tired smile, because it’s been a long day and I am tired and it isn’t over yet. And I say ‘Thank you for vacuuming,’ because it is helpful since the baby decided to squish cookie over the carpet that morning. And I hand him the baby and ask him to take care of the diaper and the comforting while I get a cup of milk and start dinner.

I try very hard not to criticize what is or isn’t done. Because what isn’t done, will get done and what is done, is wonderful.

Because even if he left dinner and the dishes that night, another night when I am tired and want to leave the dishes for the next day, he will do them without telling me. And when I wake up and see the clean dishes in the dish rack, my heart will melt.

Because we need these little things to make things better. For me, it’s when he vacuums or does dishes without being asked or makes the bed or even when he wakes me up just a bit to kiss me before he goes to work. For him, it’s bringing home a snack, usually Reese’s or making the edible cookie dough recipe I have- no eggs, not meant for baking- or listening to his day.

I don’t want to nag and criticize because I want to always have the little things that make the rest of it just go away.

What has your partner done to make your heart melt?