I love a cluttered fridge door. I like pictures, Papa Johns coupons, and those silly thin magnets that come with your phone book. I like to see the wedding invitations for the summer (or in this case, a few for the fall) and the comic strips that relate to our current life. I have a few of those transparent magnet backed picture frames and sometimes I just stuff them with new pictures, leaving the older ones behind. There is a picture of Mr. V and I on our wedding day with my dad, me in the middle between the two men that I love. There is one of our rambunctious terrier-mix, Cora, when she was much younger. Cora’s picture had started slipping through the slick plastic frame so I took it down yesterday to straighten it up. Low and behold there was a picture behind it, one that I hadn’t looked at for a long time. It was of my husband, right after we had gotten married (about 3 years ago I would say). He was skinny(er). He had longer hair. His face was more sharp, and he looked young. He was wearing a nice outfit, that I then remembered we had scrounged money to buy it for his new job. He was sitting cross legged on a couch we no longer own and was looking away. That was the man I married.
I now look at him, sitting across the room from me as I type this. He is relaxing in gym shorts and socks. He isn’t quite as skinny. His hair is short. That boyish look is gone from his face, and in it’s place a more manly gruff has formed. (Although he still looks all of 24, mind you.) Our daughter is taking her morning nap in bed and it is oh so quiet, just as it used to be when it was just us, in our little first apartment in the city. I look at him now and I think, is this the man I married?
I seem to have made a mistake. I kept living with a perception in my mind and forgot to look at what was really in front of me. The difference is so stark (to me) I almost catch myself thinking, “Who are you?” When I know good and well who he is. I remember who he was in that hidden picture on the fridge. I know who he was a year ago, and who he has been since we became parents. I was aware of those changes because they effected the way that I dealt with him. But I was still seeing him through the eyes of the 19 year old who met him and decided to love him.
As he was talking to me about eating some of the cake I made last night for breakfast, I found my heart soften to his words. I watched him as someone who has spent the last 5 years of her life with him. I feel my eyes soften as I smile at his jokes and stories. I see the young guy I met as a freshman in college in the body of the man who works more than 40 hours to pay our bills. At that moment I realize there is something so beautiful about growing older with someone else. I see the boy inside of this man and my heart goes out to him, the man who chose to let me be a part of his story and watch his development.
I need to be more aware of these things.