You’ve known it four times now, the way my body sprawls all out for a baby. To my surprise and possibly also to yours, I would grow, skin stretch, and you still found me what you wanted. But even then, even though I believe what you say about me, that you want my round legs, I see the sparkle in you as I shrink back down.
Jude asks, “Mama, why is your belly still big?” And I give him whiplash with my response, “Because 4 human beings have lived inside me!” Poor guy. But with you, I don’t lash, don’t feel the need to explain. Natural childbirth has a way of producing awe, giving new definitions.
New definitions or not, though, sometimes I just don’t feel it, the sexy, so lately I prescribed to myself what I think might help. New underwear, I need it. Will you glory in the day that the stretched-out maternity panties exit the building? I see that sparkle when I say I’d like to visit Victoria’s Secret. Yes, I see it,and I love that sideways grin, that thick beard. See? It’s working already!
But then I visit the store, and out of principle, I can’t buy – their marketing to 13 year olds instead of grown women old enough to sign a marriage certificate. Weeks later, I finally stumble on the perfect combination of comfortable sexy, some that won’t remind me of themselves all day long, but that you wouldn’t mind seeing in the laundry pile.
I’m so excited. No, they’re not hot pink or red, but they’re pretty. It’s going to work, I think.
So I put them in the washing machine as soon as I get home. You’re going to love this.
Yet as I stack the laundry, one pair after another held up in the sun, I realize that one of our precious children, the one who inherited my ravenous love for chocolate, had stuffed his pockets with my Christmas dark chocolate, and I had forgotten to check pockets. Splotches, streaks even, of brown chocolate speckle everything, the delicate lace of it all.
And Seth, I’m just going to have to wear it anyway, these chocolate stains, my extra skin, good gravy, my hair, the peanut-butter sun spot. But I know my jeans look good, enough. I listened when my Mama said that I’ll hit my 50’s, and I’ll remember this body, and I’ll call it beautiful. “Appreciate it, girl,” she said.
So yes, you’ve rejoiced well in the wife of your youth, but I declare, you’ll rejoice in her more fully as she ages – somewhat because she’s more full, as in filled out, but also? She’s full of knowledge, the years of working at it, the slow-reaching steadfastness, the secrets we’ve made together, and then the ones that aren’t so secret, the ones who run around here filling their pockets with chocolate.
More this year than the last. More of it all,
Seth and I are going to start recording it as best we can, staking a claim so we’ll remember, writing it out so we’ll better understand and so others will know that we’re all strange, just trying to work it out as we go. If marriage is hard work, and it is, then doesn’t it make sense that we would share the work we’ve done so younger couples would be encouraged, and so those looking for spouses would see the red flags they need to see?
If you’ve written about marriage lately, would you put a link in the comments so others can find it? We’ll be doing this in some form every Monday, writing on the funny and the serious of marriage, so be thinking on it. Let us know there, too, just what you’ve been learning. Have you written to your spouse lately?