Through some recent correspondence with an old friend, I learned about some of her struggles during high school—and I learned how completely unaware I was. I wish so much that I could have related to her better at the time. Not because I think it would have made much of a difference in her life, but because it would have made a difference in mine. I can’t speak for her, but I will speak today for myself.
I couldn’t go deep because I wasn’t deep.
I talked to my friends about boys and the chemistry teacher and the next haircut I was considering. I had tentative plans for the future and was fostering a quiet ambition, but I was 16.
I hadn’t become a dreamer yet.
I hadn’t wanted more than anything to give up on something.
I hadn’t really lived.
In the twelve years since then, I’ve fallen and broken my knee cap clean in two, in order to protect the two babies I was carrying, one in my belly and the other on my hip.
I’ve grappled with marriage to someone so similar and yet so different from me.
I’ve struggled to reconcile the idealistic picture I had in my head of motherhood with the one that looks like yogurt spilled on carpet below the dining table.
I’ve set my heart on the internet, for anyone to read.
I’ve developed empathy and come to believe that everyone is fighting a hard battle.
I’ve made difficult strides with my faith.
I have become.
To my dear friend from high school: Let’s go deep. I wasn’t ready then, but I am now.
It is realizations like these that make me less afraid of growing up, of growing old.
I have so much becoming left to do.