I have to be honest…I didn’t really listen to the first few minutes of her talk. I was sitting in a room full of photographers, buzzing out of their seats with excitement, to hear the always-fabulous Jasmine Star give a keynote address at Showit United in Vegas and I was completely zoned out, not hearing a word she said. But, believe me, it was not because I wasn’t just as excited as everyone else in that room waiting to hear her speak! You see, right before she began to speak, I took a quick glance around the room and something caught my eye that began to bring me to tears. Standing off to the side, amidst the borderline pandemonium in the room, full of over-caffeinated photographers, still clamouring to get a seat as close as possible to the front of the room as Jasmine began to speak, was her husband, JD.
Now, it may have been the fact that I was 3 days into my Vegas trip at this point and that home sick feeling was just starting to set in, but as I watched JD’s face light up when Jasmine took the proverbial stage, I found myself moved to tears. It wasn’t so much about how I could feel the love for his wife absolutely radiating out of him (which I totally could!), but it was that look on his face…it was somehow familiar to me. I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes before, but I had definitely felt it. That look…I knew it. It was the calm in a room full of craziness, it was confidence in the face of uncertainty, it was more love than words can say, and it was the overwhelming pride of a husband for his wife. The same look I have felt time and time again from my own spouse when in the midst of my own sometimes frenzied life.
When I was drowning in writing my graduate thesis, when I was run down and exhausted while full-time student teaching, when I walked across the stage in front of hundreds of people at my graduation in Millennium Park, when I was wracked with anxiety before shooting my first wedding on my own, when I was overcome with self-doubt about whether I could make it in this crazy world of wedding photography full-time, when I was asked to speak on a news segment about our wedding just hours before our ceremony , when the doors opened for us to walk down the aisle….in all of these moments and countless others, I have felt that look. The thing is…when we are wrapped up in the craziness of our lives, we don’t always stop and take a look around. We know our loved ones are there for us, but we don’t always get to see it. I have felt that calming, uplifting, and so very proud look of my spouse hundreds of time, but seeing JD have that look for his wife made me realize how powerful it can be to see that look.
In that moment, I almost wished I could take a photograph of that look on his face…for Jasmine to cherish and appreciate forever, lest she missed seeing it, out in the crowd. But, mostly, in that moment, I felt extremely grateful. Grateful because I know what it feels like to be a recipient of a look like that, even if I don’t get to see it, out in the crowd. Grateful to have a spouse who loves me like that. Grateful to have a spouse who makes sure I feel love like that, everyday. Grateful to have a spouse that pushes me and knows I can do whatever I set my mind to, even when I don’t know it. Grateful to have a spouse who is calm and sure when I am frantic and insecure. Grateful to have a spouse that shows me the way when I’m too worked up to find it myself. Grateful to have a spouse that celebrates my every achievement and reminds me I can always learn from the mistakes. Grateful to have a spouse that is proud of me. Grateful to have a spouse that appreciates me. Every single day.
For the times when I cannot see ‘that look’ or my spouse cannot physically be with me to cheer me on during the bouts of ‘Can I do this?!’ anxiety, I have found myself looking to this little note. It has become a permanent fixture on my desk since it was given to me with some surprise flowers several weeks ago. And I whenever I look at it, I am not only soothed and encouraged…I am grateful.