She was vibrant, charismatic, carefree. She was well-rested, well-dressed, and well-read. She smiled and laughed, the kind that reaches all the way to your eyes. She was a summer day, windows down, radio blaring. She was messy. She was a little reckless. She was fun.
She was everything I am not.
My memories of her have continued to fade and it recently occurred to me that I am not sure I recognize her at all. I am simply just not the woman I used to be. That woman could have a night out and not worry about what time her tiny human alarm clock would go off. She could spend an hour doing her hair and makeup without concerns of making everyone late for work or daycare. She had time to plan meals, date nights, and girls time because her days were not filled with budgeting, errands, and to-do lists a mile long. She did not know what true exhaustion felt like because she had never weathered the storm of a sick toddler in the middle of the night. That woman was able to float blissfully unaware through her days. She didn’t know the heaviness that is felt with the responsibility of having someone depend on you 24/7.
I am certain that my husband noticed her slipping away long before I did. Maybe it was in a joke he told where I forgot to laugh. Maybe it was in the moment he wanted to stay up late and I didn’t. Maybe it was in the lost ‘just checking in’ text messages, the calls on your way home from work, or the sweet voicemails. Maybe it was the moment he needed support and I had none to offer. The funny thing with something like that is it doesn’t happen all at once – it happens slowly, piece by piece, so that you can’t even see it until there are too many pieces missing.
So my love I ask you to be patient with the woman I am. When you look into my tired eyes try to look past the woman on the surface. Although there was beauty in that woman and that time in her life, there is also more beauty in this woman and this time in her life than we could have imagined. Occasionally on a date or after a few too many glasses of wine when you catch a small glimpse of the carefree woman you fell in love with, cherish that moment for what it is. Know that our children will not always be little and it will not always feel like the weight of the world rest on our shoulders. Someday our sweet littles will grow and our home will quiet. It is there in the peace and bittersweet memories that you will find the woman I used to be waiting for you.