It all started last Thursday when I texted Jacob asking if I could get Botox in my forehead.
I told him the reason I was asking was because my little brother works in skin care and could “hook me up”, but the real reason for my question was that someone thought I was in my late 40’s for the 3rd time in 6 months. I turned 30 in October. Whenever I tell Jacob or my friends these stories of people thinking I’m much older, they explain it away with things like, “It’s just because you own a business,” or “Most 30-year-olds don’t have 3 kids,” or (if they’re really trying to make me feel better) “You just carry yourself so well!” But the only reason I can think of is the giant wrinkle between my eyebrows that legit rivals the Grand Canyon.
So, I texted him this question: “If I could get Botox in my forehead from Stephen’s work for cheap would you let me do it? Or are we against it?” His response was quick and not up for discussion.
He could have left it at that, but then he sent another text that actually made me smile: “You don’t need anything like that.”
It reminded me of a moment we had on the night of my sister’s wedding.
We had been running around (literally) all day. (Side note: Family weddings once you have kids are a whole different experience. Add the fact that one of my kids is breast feeding and one is 2, Jacob and I were both in the wedding, and we were photographing it… utter chaos.) Back to the story. We had been running around like crazy, photographing and dealing with the kids, but we somehow had made it through all of the events of the day and found ourselves on the dance floor together. The sun had set, Sadie had gone home with Grammie, Jay was asleep on my friend’s shoulder, and I was holding Lilah because she wanted to dance still, but was exhausted. My hair was crazy and the sweat was now dry but still sticky. A familiar song came on.
“I found a love for me. Darling just dive right in and follow my lead.”
Jacob’s eyes met mine from a few yards away. He walked over, grabbed me around my waist, and pulled me in, Lilah sandwiched between us.
“Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet; I never knew you were the someone waiting for me.”
He kissed my head. I got a lump in my throat. The words we had exchanged that day were all-business. “Can you go get a shot of the rings?” “How long did Jay nap?” “Is your mom bringing Sadie in her dress or should we wait until she’s at the church?” The only time I had even looked at him all day was to give the secret “get-our-kid-out-of-here-she’s-making-too-much-noise” signal during the ceremony. I put my head on his shoulder.
“’Cause we were just kids when we fell in love, Not knowing what it was. I will not give you up this time. But darling, just kiss me slow, your heart is all I own, And in your eyes you’re holding mine”
It played in my mind like a really beautiful movie trailer for a Nicholas Sparks novel. Me, at 19 years old, freshly broken-hearted, young and naive. Him, 23 years old, also young and naive, but strong and calm and everything I needed. That candy, the one he left on my desk almost 11 years ago. That first date, a Grizzlies game. That first dance in the woods.
“Baby, I’m dancing in the dark with you between my arms, barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song. When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath, but you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight.”
I realized in that moment, I was barefoot, and we were dancing on the same grass where we danced on our wedding night. My eyes welled and I squeezed him, still trying to find a way to get closer to him with Lilah between us.
“Well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know. She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I’ll share her home.”
I thought about the dreams we’ve seen realized in over a decade together… the Europe trip we took, the business we built, the homes we’ve shared.
“I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets. To carry love, to carry children of our own.”
3 names flashed through my mind, each connected to the memory of the moments they were born: Lilah Rae, Sadie Joy, Jay Stanberry. Thank you, Lord, for these gifts.
“We are still kids, but we’re so in love, fighting against all odds. I know we’ll be alright this time. Darling, just hold my hand; be my girl, I’ll be your man. I see my future in your eyes.”
I thought about what these past years have held for us… Adventures to places like Hawaii and Australia and Europe have turned into adventures to the park or the beach with more baggage than the world travels. Romantic surprise dates have been traded for date nights perfectly timed between when the baby needs to be fed. Late nights spent talking on the phone until 3am have become 8:30 bedtimes in anticipation of the 3am kid wake ups.
“Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms, barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song. When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful, I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight.”
I felt it in that moment, on that dance floor, and I felt it when he answered the Botox question. He thinks I’m perfect. I have wrinkles, but it’s because we’ve laughed so much. My body is different, but it’s because I’ve carried his 3 babies. I’ll probably ask him this question many more times in our lives, but his answer will probably be the same, “You don’t need anything like that.” He thinks I’m perfect and I think he is too.