By Brie Gowen
I stood at the bathroom mirror quickly brushing my teeth, and my 13-month-old toddled around at my feet searching diligently for something to get into. My mousy, dirty dishwater blond hair looked wirey in my reflection, and as I assessed how I could possibly make that mop look decent in the spare time I was provided, I realized I was going on day four since it had been washed. Sigh. With a baby refusing to nap, a full day of homeschooling ahead and the laundry list of additional to-do’s that still loomed, I succumbed to the idea of a ponytail. Again.
I briefly considered changing into something cute, but I thought better of it as I looked down to glimpse my daughter rubbing her snotty nose on my pajama pants. I slid on a pair of stretchy leggings and a generous top to cover my mommy behind. I still hadn’t recovered fully from my postpartum body, but honestly, I knew I never would. It was fine.
Later that afternoon as we hurriedly gathered tap shoes and tutus for an afternoon of dance class, I quickly swiped on some mascara so as not to look quite as dead as I felt. I saw the crinkles at the corners of my large, sleepy eyes, and I laughed at how the years had settled across my face no matter the premium skincare I slathered on at night.
Responsibilities weighed heavy on me, and though I loved my crazy, busy, blessed life, I felt exhausted most days. But not just that. This day in particular I felt like I was failing at life. If it could be forgotten at home, I had forgotten it. If it could fall apart, it had done so. Of the many things I desired to accomplish that day, most had fallen to the wayside. So I threw on some comfy boots that to me made up in coziness what they might lack in fashion-forwardness. Yeah, I knew they were hideous, but it was just whatever. Perhaps the other dance moms wouldn’t judge too harshly. I suppose I was in too much of a hurry to care.
Following a bank stop, a bill payment and an hour long ballet class, later we stopped by my husband’s restaurant to say hello before heading back home to make supper. I smiled as he fussed over his girls in their leotards and frills, and I stood kinda haggard off to the side marveling at the beauty of the ones we had created together. He held one by the hand, and another on his hip and he helped me load our girls back into the van. A quick kiss and we parted ways to finish another day. With matted hair, animal cracker stained leggings and those horrendous boots (oh who am I kidding; they’re house shoes), I headed confidently home.
Half an hour later my happy, house-shoe clad feet stood comfortably in front of the stove stirring dinner for my family, when suddenly I heard the chime of an incoming text on my phone. It was from my husband who would be home shortly, but I suppose he didn’t think this pressing news could wait.
I just want you to know you are still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen 😘
And just like that he turned my whole day around. It wasn’t that I felt incredibly unattractive, or even that I required a compliment to feel better about myself. Yet still. Something about his perfectly timed compliment, in the midst of a crazy day, it had acted like a salve to my soul. Sometimes, make that most times, it’s the little things that mean the most. A morning kiss that lingers longer than normal, a thoughtful note left by the coffee maker, my favorite candy brought home for desert, or a text reminding me he stills thinks I got it, house shoes or not.
The crow’s feet didn’t matter, the shabby attire was of no consequence. The dirty hair wasn’t noted, and I doubt he even saw the shoes. Somehow my man looked past the years and how they’d changed me. He moved beyond the window dressing I barely maintained at this stage of my life. He saw right past it to the best parts of me, and those were the ones highlighted in his eyes. He thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world, and actually, I couldn’t imagine a sexier man than he was in my mind. And I suppose that’s exactly how it should be.