Now I see how easy it is to just let entitlement happen. It’s what comes naturally – both to us and to them. Fighting against it is gritty work, while letting it go requires a lot less effort. So we do. We let it go. And we accidentally raise brats.
I remembered I probably wouldn’t see you again until late that evening. We’d give each other a quick kiss, a tired, lingering hug, and chat about our days. I would tell you a few funny and/or disturbing stories about the kids and you would fill me in on work. We would give our best effort to listen and respond, though our eyes would be growing heavier by the minute. I thought about how you’d probably fall asleep on the couch later and I’d attempt to wake you up to come to bed, but eventually give up and crawl into bed alone, but not necessarily lonely.
And I felt a twinge of sadness. Like we’d lost something. That excitement and anticipation. That passion. What happened to us? I wondered. And for a minute, I wished we were back there, flirting in your dorm room, listening to that song on repeat.
This is not about looking skinnier in a pair of jeans or feeling prettier, although those things are nice side effects. This is about giving your loved ones your best self: your husband, your kids, your friends. When I feel better, I will be a better wife, mom, and follower of Jesus.
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.