“Make sure and record as many of your child’s moments as you can, especially in the early years,” said my coworker. “You’d be surprised how quickly she will change.”
I thought it was good advice, but I didn’t want to break out the video camera every time my daughter said a new word. So instead, I decided to get a journal and – every day – write one thing my daughter did and one thing my wife did.
This little exercise in preserving our young family’s history was going to teach me a lesson: I was forgetting to admire my wife.
My brief journal entries went something like this: Today, I came into the room and found my daughter with a Tupperware container on her head. I got a good laugh out of that. Raquel felt tired all day.
I also had a number of longer journal entries where I wrote six or seven sentences about my daughter, gushing with detailed admiration about something adorable she did. Then I would remember to write about my wife and add something like, “Raquel worked out today, even though she was tired and feeling unmotivated. Go honey!”
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks into my journal-writing that I saw the pattern: I would go on and on about my daughter and end by noting that – oh yeah, my wife is still alive. And even when I did write more colorfully about my wife, it was almost always about her role as a mother.
The thought occurred to me: “You know, my wife is someone’s little girl too. It’s not like she stopped being cute and interesting just because we got married and had kids. And there’s more to her than being a mom.” So I started watching her again, looking for all those things that interested me when we first started dating.
My journal entries began to look more like this one: I took a fitness class from Raquel at the gym today. She looked so gorgeous–I think seeing her in that context helped me realize how young and beautiful she looks and how warm and welcoming her personality is.
As I wrote more journal entries like this, I realized I had been taking so many of her loveliest attributes for granted and forgetting what makes her so much more than a tired mom: the way she makes me laugh, her vibrant prayer life, her perceptiveness about people (especially me), and the way she still turns my head when she walks through the room. And in a fresh way, with each journal entry, I’m realizing all over again why marrying her is the best decision I ever made.