Turns out, he didn't really believe me when I told him it was under there... He thought I was exaggerating to make a point about my need for greater balance again (read: serious stress). I've noticed other things over that time-frame; A more frequent migraine pattern, some minor belly-bulge (only place there is something remaining from child-bearing) still just hanging on 'round there, some mood-swings, more regular difficulty with sleeping solidly, higher blood pressure at the doc at last visit, and more frequent patterns of fatigue. Evidently, my mood and general demeanor weren't tipping him off - which says that it wasn't outwardly as prevalent as I had been feeling inside. That's a good thing!
The sun hit my shimmering natural highlights just right during one ripe afternoon spent outdoors. He brought it to my attention as though I'd never even hinted about its presence previously. I looked at him with my "d'oh" face - saying, "Yeaaaaah... That's the 'grey hair' I was referring to when I once expressed that our kids are expediting the aging process..." "There's kind of a lot there!" Came his response. "Thanks for finally noticing!" I said with a smile. At this point, I began to wonder if the shock in his expression was because it was not exactly eye-candy - or whether he was really just that tuned-out when I expressed concern over my body's stress-responses some many-months prior. And, it still hadn't really bothered me... until~ that comment about how many years it added to my face.
Of course, NOW I'm thinking the look on his face is mortification! REALLY? "So - does it look that horrible???" I inquired, "Your face says it's pretty much freaking you out. I thought maybe I looked more my age, rather than 10 years younger?!" (Still feeling okay about it - but somewhat more uneasy...) "No no - It does make you look older than you are though... But I'm actually more concerned about your stress level. Is that legit, that it turns hair grey - or is that one of those myths?" I honestly didn't know for sure - but it would seem a rather sizable coincidence that I had a patch while working at the job I hated most... that later disappeared, only to reappear again after baby number two's arrival... I'm no scientist, but I'm thinking there's a direct link here.
Isn't it funny - that I'm not only an open book, but a big-time communicator, and yet - even amongst my attempts at direct-dialogue about such issues, he didn't catch on until he could visibly SEE the signs for himself??
Well, needless to say it brought about very healthy, motivating, and forward-thinking discussion regarding how to best tackle the remaining problems with my lacking balance. I was able to reassure him - about all of the things that I'm grateful for every day; Two healthy, amazing little girls/ our own health/ his job - with it's flexibility and his natural instincts for it - as well as his growing rapport with the awesome company he's with/ our supportive and loving families/ our friendship and amazingly strong connection/ our ability to get back on track financially after an unpredictable blow/ Our home - and it's location - amidst the tranquil woods and water/ my drive for life/ my passion for what I do and my ability to work for myself in the process - and be home with our daughters/ our new-found parenting techniques that have been working wonders/ the fact that we know ourselves well, and have established priorities at a time in our lives when we needed to most.... I'm not sure I could compile a list that would adequately portray the depth of my gratitude.
In spite of all of the good in our lives, and my positive attitude and determination to find the good in all things ~ there is still a lack of true balance. He thought of one brilliant little adjustment that will work wonders in that department! (Two minds = always better!) We will from now on, do any necessary errand-running, etc - together as a family in the evening hours during the week. That will free up lots of time on my Wednesdays (Grandbaby-Days with the retired in-laws) - allowing more time on those days for me! FAB. I also needed, as it turns out, a bit of reassurance that I'm handling things the way I should be during the day while at home with the girls - in order to maintain all of the goings-on: child-rearing/ interaction, house-upkeep, the photography work (namely photoshop hours and client-interaction), as well as incorporating couple time and family time when Joel is home. [Keep in mind, Myla doesn't nap any longer. Combine that with the inevitable, ever-changing shifts to every-day life that accompany growing children, and you have a requirement to regularly re-think your current routine(s) to effectively maintain (or re-instate) a sense of balance!]
All-in-all - I've never felt lighter, or more eager to push forward again. And, I've taken to a cheap DIY means of adding some auburn undertones in the form of spontaneous low-lights to cover those age-distorting greys. Hey, I don't know about you - but time already moves too quickly. And now that I'm feeling more like I'm 'recovering', and my efforts to maintain a true sense of balance are beginning to pay-off with higher yields - for $3 a box - why the heck not? :)