This is tough for me to admit, but…sometimes I just want someone to hold me, and tell me everything’s gonna be alright.
…and also that I’m pretty.
God help me, I super-like being told how pretty I am–specifically (really only) by my husband, and especially when I’m not.
I’ve always liked it. I’m not sure whether or not I heard it often from him in the beginning of our relationship, because I knew my body was bangin’ and I didn’t give a crap what he thought.
But then time went on and I had babies and dark circles formed under my eyes and I forgot to comb my hair and I gained weight lost weight gained it again lost it again got pregnant again gained weight gained some more lost a little bit and gained it again and then just quit cause four kids and dogs and husbands made me lose my dang mind. And I wanted to hear him tell me I was pretty more and more with each passing year.
Except I didn’t hear it.
Perhaps it’s because Caleb’s never had a way with complimentary words. Oh, he’d sort of acknowledge my appearance and say things like “Is that a new shirt?” or “Oh, wow, holy red lipstick!” or even “Did you dye your hair or something?” (I did. Yes. Three weeks ago. Thanks for noticing.)
As most women do, I went from being mildly disappointed to moderately discouraged to straight-up pissed off and back to not caring–and not trying. Why freaking bother?
Recently I embarked on a mission: to get Caleb to say it–the words–“You look pretty“–unprompted, otherwise it didn’t count–and I kind of sort of maybe possibly got a little obsessed with it. Hair straightened, lipstick on, weight lost, clothes not covered in smashed banana (okay whatever jk there’s smashed banana all over the place) and I wanted to hear the words so bad I could taste it. Every moment he looked at me and didn’t say it, I died. Every day that went by without it was a terrible day, regardless of whatever other nice things he did for me. I let three little words (or lack thereof) dictate how I would feel about myself and how I would act around my family. Being physically beautiful to my husband became an idol.
And then one day I was eating a delicious lunch with my class (carrots that had been sneezed on, YUM) and suddenly I couldn’t taste my food and I couldn’t smile big.
The floppy face problem continued all the way home and into the evening and my head hurt and my eye was watering and I was tired. My whole face, my face!
Boom: Bell’s Palsy.
My first thought? I look friggin’ hilarious and this could not be more of a comedic goldmine.
Second thought: now Caleb will never say the words.
And then I looked in the mirror and laughed. And then cried again.
And then I made a pirate face and said “arrrgggg”. And I laughed. And cried a little less.
And I sat making faces at myself and laughed some more. And Caleb laughed. And the kids laughed. And it was awesome.
And so I might not hear “You’re like, really pretty,” from Caleb anytime soon. But he cradles my head in his hands and kisses my droopy eye and my numb lips, and he asks me if I’m doing ok. He insists I take naps which, dang it, is pretty much currency in this marriage with small children. He’ll tell me that one half of my face looks really good and we both giggle when I try to smile and he says “Don’t go big. Just stay home.”
I might not get three words out of him but I can make him laugh like no one else can.
Plus I was made in God’s image and I can only hope He knew I needed laughs and sleep more than I needed empty compliments.
In the meantime, Mia and I are perfecting our “not impressed” expressions.