Saturday Mornings mark a momentous occasion around here: relaxing.
I may work from home, but it’s a lot of work and little play. My Michael is up at 5 a.m. and most days doesn’t return till after 4 p.m. Then, after a hug, kiss, and quick 30 min catch-up, we both make our way respectively to the gym/living room for an hour or so of exercise. The evening draws to a close with shoveling sustenance into our droopy food-holes and catching a 60 minute show before lights out. Well, lights out for M, anyway. I, of course, cannot sleep without Words to quiet the chavish in my head.
This last Saturday, Michael and I partook in one of our favorite activities: finding new music to download. Good music — much like books and movies — is often hard to find, and . . . you have to sit idly through a lot of not-so-good music before you’re rewarded. Noisetrade is an awesome site you can download and sample music for free. FYI.
As we did this, Michael was at my desk, in front of the laptop, and I had perched on the end of our bed. Each time a new song began to play, Michael and I would involuntarily shift toward one another, eyes searching and seeking the other’s face, silently ascertaining how the other felt about the song. This went on for some time.
My angel-pup, Bella, had been fast asleep beneath the folded back layer of our bedspread, curled up with something mommy-scented to sweeten her puppy-dreams. At some point, though, she roused, realizing mommy was nearby and offering the creme de le creme of real-esate; with the subtly of a lightening strike, she bounded across the bed, crawled onto my lap, and wedged herself perfectly between my arms. And, as women often do, while holding small, vulnerable things in their arms, I began to rock from side to side. She was asleep within seconds, and I . . . drifted. The song playing at that point was something slow, but with a firm beat. It settled in the pulse of my heart, changing the rhythm ever so slightly. I let it carry me. Lull me. Take me out of our bedroom, and to a place petal-soft and buoyant and cerulean.
Unbeknownst to me, Michael — Psychologist by day, Photographer by weekend — had slipped a sly hand. Hearing something, or perhaps sensing a shift in energy, I opened a curious eye to find him capturing Bella and I. Our eyes met and he spoke inaudibly:
“Don’t move,” his eyes said, plain as our soft gray sheets. I promptly closed my eyes and resumed rocking.
This is Michael’s capturing.
At first glance, I suspended in awe and marvel. Look at us; my sweet girl and I, perfectly content to hold one another. But, after a moment or two, my smiling lips faltered as I began to notice the flaws. So many of them, I thought. Being morning time, I had no need for things such as make-up, jewelry, or attire more confining than sweats. While Bella may indeed look perfectly adorable and lovable, her mother . . . well, she has begun to show signs of aging. Hardly noticeable, I know, but an organic photograph isn’t always kind to its subject. Michael assured me we were beautiful, but I had doubts.
I asked him, “Do you think we could try this again? After I’ve cleaned up a bit?” The understanding man he is, he looked at me, smiled, and replied, “Of course, but we won’t be able to recreate that moment.”
Nothing more need be said. I understood, or rather, understand, all about moments. I create them all the time.
I had a choice to make: try this again when I was “beautiful” and contrive a moment. Allow the world to see me as is. Keep this picture to myself.
For someone who’s believed that all she’s had to offer the world for the last ten years is a pretty face, maybe you’ll understand this was a difficult decision. In the end, though, the moment is what I wanted.
I have no children of my own, and I may never. Should God decide to move some pieces around for Michael and I, this might happen in the future. But for now, that trusting and pliable little creature on my lap is what I have. I love her — fiercely. I will protect her at all cost. Contemplating, for even the lesser half of a millisecond the truth that the end of her life will precede mine, is anguish. We won’t think about that now, though.
So I decided. I decided that, if the price of the moment was my flaws and imperfections, then I would pay it gladly. This is, the real me. Strip away the make-up, the hair, the coquettish smile, and you have a woman and writer who loves her Jesus, loves her husband, and loves her animal. The esoteric complexities and intricacies of the human soul call for higher-understanding, but the way I see it, He created me to look a certain way, and though I might choose to festoon and adorn this shell of mine with baubles and paint, the woman beneath doesn’t change. Who I am is not on the outside, but on the inside.
My beauty is amiable.
My beauty is generous.
My beauty is compassionate.
My beauty is perennial.
No amount of years or wrinkles could ever detract or diminish what the Creator wisely fashioned into something conceptually alive. Whether you are a man or woman, your beauty, your true beauty, is impervious to time.
Take a listen to this song, will you please? It’s one of my favorites.
I pray you a blessed day, my friends.