Joel and I recently went hiking at Cloudland Canyon and LOVED it.
I am not as into hiking as Joel is. I love the outdoors, but I’m sort of allergic to all of it. And I don’t like being sticky and sweaty. Joel, however, has a way of making you get excited about going on an adventure and, truth be told, I never regret joining him.
BUT something weeeeird happened on this particular hike.
Joel and I make a habit of taking Olson with us wherever we go. So that wasn’t the weird thing. He was actually a gem the whole time. He didn’t get cranky and he even took a nap. In fact, if I’m being tooootally honest, I kind of felt like a healthy fit family from like an outdoorsey magazine. Passing people like, “Oh hey! Enjoy your hike. Yeah, we hike all the time with a baby attached to us. Want some homemade granola or a carrot stick?”
The weird thing was, I had an epiphany. A vision, a revelation if you will. I envisioned Joel and I as a forty-year-old married couple. It wasn’t a very clear picture. Just a fuzzy, slightly wrinkled around the eyes glimpse.
And guess what? Guess what?!!
I. Got. So. Excited.
So warm and cozy and fuzzy.
Because I realized Joel and I would be growing old together. As our faces begin to wrinkle and our bodies start changing, we’ll still be together. When our kids are grown and we’re hoping we like who they bring home from college, we’ll still be together.
He will be there for all the things of life. Like when my hair color isn’t so brown and is a tad bit more, ya know, gray-ish, he will be there to affirm me and tell me, “Dang girl, gray is your color!” Joel. My Joel.
I will get to see him through job promotions and hair loss. He will see me through great performances and crow’s feet.
He will have to remind me to take my vitamins, and I will remind him to buy new khakis because he’s had the same pair for 20 years.
He’ll insist that I stop spending so much money on lattes and I’ll insist that he cut his hair.
I’ve never really been freaked out by aging. But knowing that I have someone who loves me so unconditionally to accompany me through those crazy changes puts me more at ease.
As I took too many pictures of our family and the views around us, Joel was practically rolling his eyes. I could hear him thinking, “Alyssa, just be in the moment. Enjoy the view, take it in. Be here.” I took a deep breath and the present images soaked in deep. The rich greens of the trees, trickling water through smooth stones, the crunching of dirt under our feet. Olson started his song, “Bababa mmmmba!” And I thought of my sweet little family. My precious husband and the years that are ahead of us.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, according to my blurry vision into the future, Joel is a really good looking old guy.