I know it might be hard to remember her, but that girl you fell in love with — she’s still here.
Please see her: the ready-for-adventure, vibrant woman you fought for and promised to love forever. Don’t miss her.
Sometimes, I do. It’s hard to find her under the layers of this new together-life with children. I know she’s hidden at 6:00 p.m. when I grunt a greeting over crying babies and burning food. If you look close enough, you can catch a glimmer of her in unexpected laughter.
You still make her laugh.
There are a few extra pounds, a few more wrinkles — and last week’s shower wore off two days ago — but she still looks for that spark in your eyes when she steps out of her clothes. She still wants you to look at her, needs you to desire her in all of her nursing bra, spit-up, messy hair glory. She knows that you still do; she just needs a reminder every once in a while.
Please look past what seems like disinterest — she still swoons over your smile. Your arms still steady her, and her head on your chest is forever her safe place. I promise she doesn’t see the gray hairs and pounds you try to hide. You’re still the Greek god she pursued with such passion early on. She thinks about you and admires how clever you are, how hard you work, and how you love your children.
She is just tired, but never of you.
Please see past her tiredness. When you wink at her from the end of a table of friends, wrestling children becomes a little more worth it. See her when you ask to go out apart from her on a Saturday night. She will say yes, because she knows you need your time, too, but she will secretly wish you would stay home, snuggle, and watch a show. She misses you, too.
Know that she thought of you when she made an effort, even if it’s just combed hair, mascara, or something lacy instead of cotton under those sweats she’s worn all week.
She still instinctually reaches out for you after a bad dream. Your warmth in her bed is comfort in the weariness. She seems distant (to me, too), but she is just poured out. Her body belongs to so many right now; she hugs, consoles, wipes, feeds, and disciplines all day. She never knew how far she would stretch, or how hard this would be. Sleepless nights and fussy days leave her feeling like a shell of herself.
Just know she will be back, and she is still yours. Forever.
So when all I can manage is crawling to the coffee pot and pouring you a cup, know I am saying, “we are in this together.” That girl you fell in love with is here, but she is also changed. As we grow together, watching our love multiply in the most literal way possible, I love who I am because of you.
Our life right now is hard and exhilarating. Raising these little people that look like you — it’s hard. I miss our sleeping-in snuggles and Netflix binges, but deep down, I love the “us” of now even more than when it was just budding. Growing up and growing old with you is the greatest adventure that girl you married will ever be on.
I can’t wait to hold your hand while we lean over our grandbabies. To see your eyes as you bravely walk our daughter down the aisle, filled with pride and pain as we watch our heart leave the nest. When we leave our baby in front of her dorm, I’m glad you will be there to cry with me and eat tacos to make us feel better.
The young woman you met and fell in love — she’s still here, but she’s stronger, her dreams are bigger, and she loves who she’s becoming with you.