On my nightstand there is a picture of us on our first date.
We look so young! Sometimes I forget what we looked like then.
Ten years ago your hair was still brown and your face was smooth and fresh. Life was not yet written on it; it was full of possibility. Over time and almost imperceptibly your face has begun to show the results of living and loving, of suffering and rejoicing.
I watched you the other day wondering when these changes happened. They have been gradual, to be sure, and I, who memorize you again and again each morning, sometimes have to step back a moment to notice how times marches on.
There are lines around your mouth. Those began to appear almost five years ago when we brought Isabel home and have become deeper since the arrival of Noah. They are laugh lines. Lines of happy moments and the joys of being a dad and all the laughter shared with your children. Those are a work in progress and day after day I enjoy watching them deepen.
There is a small groove between your eyes. That one is the legacy of a hellish year I put your through when we almost didn’t make it. How you grieved and prayed through that time. Your prayers and your unshakeable love for me saved me; saved us. I’ll never really know how much pain sketched that little groove but I do know that I will do anything I can to keep it from growing, till death do us part.
There are little wrinkles next to your eyes. They are the result of your growing passion for photography and all those hours spent squinting into a camera lens. There are very few pictures of you, dear moment-capturer, but when I look through your snapshots I see us through your eyes. Your pictures are glimpses of your love for us, as you patiently wait for the perfect smile, the sweetest shot, the right light.
There are ridges crossing your forehead that speak of your wonderment at the world. I love the face that wrinkles your brow. It’s the wide-eyed face you make when life sends you a pleasant surprise, a moment to cherish. You help me see the world with child-like amazement at the ordinary. You laugh, teaching me how not to take myself so seriously.
You have changed over the last decade. The kid smiling at me from that picture so long ago is not the same man who kisses me so tenderly every night. The one I can reach out and touch is infinitely better, stronger, wiser, weathered.
Life has left its mark on your face but in it I read different parts of the story of us. I thank God every day for you and for each line on your face that reminds me how blessed we are.