I’d tell her her stuff makes me laugh as hard as the first time I saw Anchorman (really hard, BTW). I’d tell her how I just finished her latest book, Church of the Small Things, and cried the last two chapters like all three of my babies because it was like she was speaking to my soul. I’d try not to get too deep on our first encounter, but casually insert that I too struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough and not making a big enough impact. I’d tell her I also have “all these feelings of being inadequate and questioning why things happen the way they do and wondering why I wasn’t good enough for this or that.” I’d tell her her words mattered to me.
I’m just overwhelmed, I finally squeak out. Clark and I got into a fight last night. About floors. I don’t think we can afford new floors in the new house, but he thinks we can. And watching our savings account disappear makes me feel all kinds of out of control. I like having a cushion. I think it’s an irresponsible decision, and all I want right now is to feel stable. In case you haven’t noticed, I am feeling unstable.
I laugh, but it comes out more like a bark. I make a mental note to google “How to Cry Adorably” when I get home.
We talk for a while. They ask questions and hold my hand. They pray over me. And then they give me the best marriage advice I’ve ever received.
We seem to all agree on the dangers of smartphones (addiction, academic distraction, sleep impairment, anxiety and depression, cyber bullying, sexual content). But we also agree that if and when we choose to hold off, we’re going to be fighting an uphill battle because kids who DON’T have a smartphone are increasingly becoming the minority.
That kid who keeps making fart noises and laughing hysterically? Love him.
That kid who went to the principal’s office for cutting another kid’s hair? Love her.
That kid who doesn’t know how to count to ten? Love her too.
That kid who peed all over the bathroom wall? Yep, even him.
That kid who cussed out the teacher? Absolutely. She needs your love so desperately.
Because here’s the thing. You might be just what they need.
I know, because I’ve been loved by you. And you were what I needed. I know what it is to be changed by you, to have my insides reconfigure because of your kindness. You’ve got it in you, this ability to infuse those around you with goodness. You can do that.
That confident, independent woman-child told you things like, “I don’t like romance,” and, “Please don’t get me flowers. They’re such a waste of money,” and, “If you EVER (insert cheesy gesture here), I will run the other way.” I wanted you to know that you weren’t getting involved with one of those “needy” girls.
Flash forward to today. Ten years later.