I’ve been my husband’s personal barber now for 16 years. We started dating in Air Force ROTC in college and to save a little bit of money, we thought it would be a good idea for me to start cutting his hair. I’d never donned clippers before, but it seemed like a great idea. That first time….oh my. It was so bad that he looked like he had mange. It was awful. It’s a wonder he didn’t leave me based on my severe lack of hair-cutting ability. Even our commander noticed it and had to make a smart-alec remark about it. I thought Dustin would never let me cut his hair again. But, he bought me a video, sat me down to get some instruction, and trusted me again with his hair. He’s a good man.
This weekend, I was cutting his hair and I stopped to think of all the times I’ve cut his hair now after 16 years. The other thing I noticed was the graying around his temples. I don’t say that to be funny or poke fun at him, heck, I’ve got my fair share. But, I thought back to those first months of dating and how we were just 21-year old kids and, now, as the years roll by I’m watching him change. It makes me a little sad, because it really doesn’t seem that long ago that we were college lovebirds. It, also, made me so very happy, because I’ve been the one to be by his side to see him grow and change. I’m the one he has chosen to grow old with and I get to be witness to all the big details and the little details.
No one else will have the privilege of being there, at the start, when his hair was as dark brown as it comes to, when all the color fades.
That is my honor as his wife.
Parents have the unique experience of watching their children grow fast and furious. They come out as helpless babies and in 18 fast years they are adults, making their way. The changes in them happen so fast that you almost feel like you are always trying to keep up with them. One day your daughter is twirling around in her princess dress; the next second she’s learning to put on make-up and wearing your clothes. One day your son is taking your face in his chubby hands and giving you sloppy kisses; the next second he is taller than you and has the voice of a man.
Spouses, though, we have the unique experience of watching our spouse change year-by-year ever so slowly. My gray hairs graced me with their presence during my husband’s deployment. The wrinkles around my eyes are from all the laughs we’ve had together with our children and between ourselves. My scar across my abdomen is from the emergency c-section I went through when our second child decided to come too early, breech, and with a prolapsed cord.
I know where all Dustin’s scars are and injuries have been. I was there when he broke his toe playing football on the beach. He had to have pins put in it and it was a gruesome sight. I was there when he came home with a broken wrist; a little memento he picked up from snow-boarding for the first time. I’ve seen the gray hairs sprinkle throughout his hair over the years, making him look more distinguished than ever. I’ve been present through injuries he’s faced while trying to challenge himself through fitness.
It’s as if our bodies, in some ways, tell the story of our life together.
There are days now when I look in the mirror and I criticize every little thing. I notice the grays, the wrinkles, the this, the that. I bemoan the fact that I don’t look like a 20-year old anymore. In these moments, Dustin always looks at me and tells me that I’m more beautiful now than the day we started dating. Half the time, I tell him he’s just being nice, but deep down I know he is speaking the truth, because I feel the same way about him. The first time I saw him, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen. I’m pretty sure I swooned or something. Yet, now, sixteen years later, he is even more handsome in my eyes, but not just physically. I see him from all layers–his looks, his integrity, the fact that he is my children’s father, his goodness, and the joy he brings to my life.
He is my story. He is the keeper of my memories of a life together.
Dustin and I are still young. I hope we are always young at heart. However, each day we are growing older. But, we are growing older together and I find this journey truly beautiful.