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Noticing the Man In Front of Me

Alexandra Kuykendall honestly

“I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.”

A spontaneous Friday morning work date. My husband Derek sat across from me in a downtown hotel lobby with Wi-Fi and coffee for the taking, our respective laptops open in front of us. When we’d realized we were headed to the same lunch event, we decided to capitalize on the sitter’s morning arrival to head downtown together a few hours early to get some work done.

We both had our agendas for the hour; to-do lists to take care of, emails and phone calls that needed to be checked off. Sitter time is precious work time for me. I can’t spend it on conversation that can be covered when I’m not paying someone by the hour. It’s my time away from the house to think. So this was a side-by-side date, a let’s be close to each other while we’re working on our own stuff, kind of hour.

In between emails I glanced up from my screen and caught sight of my husband in full conversation on the phone across the table from me. His halfsie reading glasses on, gray around the temples. An aged version of the young man I fell in love with nearly twenty years ago. It surprised me to see this older version of my groom. It’s not that I don’t see him multiple times everyday, I do. It’s that I often look past him to the dishes on the kitchen counter that need to be washed or the four-year old who is stuffing multiple pieces of months-old Halloween candy in her cheeks like a squirrel.

The whirlwind of parenthood sidetracks me from the noticing.

Maybe it was the lack of distractions or simply seeing him in full work mode that reminded me we’re not twenty anymore. I sometimes see those computer generated time-lapse photos that show how someone will age and I wonder if I’d want to know what we both will look like in ten, twenty, thirty years. Would we have wanted to know on our wedding day what we’d look like today? Who we’d be today?

As I looked at the middle-aged man in front of me I remembered for the gazillionth time that there is no other person I’d rather work with side-by-side. The years together are victories, some of them hard won, that I am both proud of and cherish. So if you see those years on our faces, it’s okay. It’s more than okay, it is good. Because today we better know who we are and what we’re about.

And we’ve changed. Not just physically, but we’ve grown into the current versions of ourselves together. He is not the same man I married, nor the same man I was married to a year ago.

So today as I notice my husband in front of me I am grateful. For what he works on today. For how he parents today. For how he loves me today. Tomorrow I will be married to a different version. A more refined edition of my husband who will be further shaped by life and grace. But I don’t want to miss today. Because in many ways today is the answer to my prayers of years ago.


 

alex-2Alexandra Kuykendall
As a mom to four girls, ages 3 to 12, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She writes to capture the places where motherhood meets everyday life to remember the small, yet significant moments in the midst of the blur. She is the author of The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir, a contributor to Be you, Bravely, An Experiment in Courage and acts as the Specialty Content Editor for MOPS International. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.