I sit down in front of my husband, baby on my hip, exhausted from the day.
He wants me to listen to something.
Oh gosh. What is it this time?
A Christmastime grin spreads across his face as a familiar melody floods the room: Lotus Flower Bomb by Walé.
My first thought: we don’t listen to secular music anymore.
My second thought: stop being overly religious. Enjoy the song that comes with so many memories with him.
As in years ago when I was a cute 18-year-old girl, sitting in his passenger seat, singing along to every word.
Why would he play this nostalgic song?
Does he feel the now version of me is less than?
Does he even like how I look anymore?
Does he miss when I didn’t have stretch marks dancing across my body, as proof of the three children I’ve carried?
Does he want the old me back?
So I start to cry because I realize I’ll never be that girl again.
Now it’s awkward.
He’s puzzled as to why I’m not enjoying it as much as he is.
I sit still and try to come up with any excuse, every excuse, as to why tears are pouring down my face.
But what comes out is: “I just miss those days. When we had time for each other. And you didn’t come home to me looking a hot mess with spit-up on my shirt. I haven’t looked pretty in so long, I used to always look pretty.”
That was the best I had at trying to cover up what I was feeling.
He says things like, “I don’t care about that, I love you, that doesn’t matter to me, we’ll have more dates again one day, this is just a season.”
Then I stand up and start walking away.
And right on cue, my postpartum belly jiggles with each step, as if to say in agreement, You’ll never be that girl again.
Then suddenly, right as I’m on the brink of a breakdown, the reality of my 18-year-old self makes a home in my mind.
I was an obnoxious, careless, self-centered, mean-spirited girl.
Oh yes, I was mean.
I have old Facebook messages to prove it.
And yet, my husband loved me.
And yet, my husband married me.
And yet, my husband wanted to have children with me.
Gratefulness enters into my heart.
So my belly and I walk down the hallway, where my two of my children are sleeping.
And as I hold my son on my hip, gazing at the door that will open to showcase my little girls sleeping soundly,
I feel honored to be a mom.
That 18-year-old girl was longing to love and be loved, unaware of what that actually would look like.
But now . . . I am walking in the very life my heart desired for so many years.
So I smile.
Because thank God I’ll never be that girl again.
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