I'm feeling nostalgic lately, probably because I've been going through our accumulated piles of stuff. I found some old rolls of film and had them developed, and they turned out to be from our first year, when we lived in student housing apartments at the university. They were pictures I took of our oldest son playing in the tiny apartment we called home back then.
One of the pictures in particular struck a chord within me. In it, my wife sat in the little hallway that led from the living room to our bedroom and the bathroom. Our son, who at the time was just starting to walk, was crawling all over her. They both had such joyous smiles on their faces. That was a difficult year for us, but also one I remember fondly, because of the happiness we felt as newlyweds.
We had to deal with such things as finding classmates to babysit for us when we both had classes, we had almost no income besides our work-study jobs, and we had help from family to purchase insurance for Alicia and myself. That winter the boiler in our building broke down, and the regular maintenance guy had a heart attack, so no one came to fix it. There was no heat in the building at all. We took to putting the baby in our bed just so he would be warm at night, a habit which we weren't able to break for the next four years. Then there was the night that I accidentally set the blender on fire trying to warm up a baby bottle, and we had to spend two days in a dorm room while we cleaned fire extinguisher dust off of everything. We had to drive across the river to Kentucky just about every night to get the baby to sleep. Add to this the normal stresses of two college students trying to make the grade; it was quite a year.
But what makes the memories so poignant is seeing how much my wife has changed in the last ten years. She is still gorgeous, nothing will ever change that; but back then she glowed with the radiance of a new bride and a new mom, full of joy and love for me and our son. Now that we're older, I notice how that glow has changed. It is more sophisticated, mature, full of the grace and wisdom that makes the difference between a beautiful girl and a knockout woman.
Ten years separate that year from this one, and I can't ever go back. I'm not sure I would want to, but it's nice to reflect on that first year and watch my lovely wife as she continues to grow and change. The glow will always be there, revealing her inner spirit; the joy comes from seeing what new part will be revealed tomorrow.