I’m cooking dinner and grabbing items from the refrigerator. I quickly glance at the pictures propped up by a magnet. They are old photos. Photos from the first months of dating and knowing my husband.
They show a different girl. One with less wrinkles and less worries. They show a girl with a carefree smile and a semi-open schedule. They show a girl who is slim and trim. A girl who was running miles on the treadmill, not circular mazes chasing after three kiddos.
The girl I’m caught staring at today isn’t here anymore. That girl is gone.
Changed. Grown. Aged.
I can’t help but wonder, does he miss her? Does my husband miss that fun, energetic, and feisty girl? The one with confidence and spunk? The one with sex appeal and charisma?
That girl has turned into me. The woman with her hair in a bun, cooking dinner, and helping the kids with homework. The woman who went from daily hair and makeup to someone who should own stock in dry shampoo. The woman who now frequents vitamin drinks over wine. The kind of woman who needs nightly multivitamins and anti-aging skincare.
The kind of woman who is buried deep in motherhood. The kind of woman who can recognize the change that has occurred over the years. Changes in my body. My mood. My anxiety level.
So I sat there making dinner, wondering, “does he miss her?”
So I asked.
I held up the picture, smiled and said, “Do you miss her? This girl? The girl I used to be?”
And this is what he said:
“Honey, that’s the girl I met. The girl I fell in love with. But I don’t miss her. She turned into you, the love of my life. I loved that girl, but I had no idea how much I’d love her with time. Back then I knew you were a great mother, but now I truly get it. I see you daily in action. Back then I knew your heart, but not the way I know it now. You see, I met that girl and fell in love with her, but I don’t miss her at all.”
And my heart nearly burst. And I cried. And I realized that everything in our wedding vows was being lived and honored. We vowed to grow with each other, never staying stagnant or without change.
We vowed to grow together, and we are.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I miss that girl. The one with fewer responsibilities and less worry. But ultimately, I wouldn’t change a thing.
That girl worked hard to stand here in a kitchen cooking for the love of her life and her three beautiful children. Her dreams came true. They just look a little less Cinderella and a little more Marge Simpson.
If you find yourself missing the old you, the younger you, the girl in the pictures…Remember she worked hard making way for your dreams to come true. She created the woman you are today. She deserves to be appreciated but not envied.
Keep looking forward. The best is yet to come.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.