This little girl didn't have a complete picture of herself. She loved reading Ramona Quimby books, playing house with her sister, strawberry crunch cones at DQ, and roller skating. She knew she was a good friend, a hardworking student, and an expert at giggling. The popular kids told her a different story: she wasn't cool; she was too skinny; she didn't need a bra soon enough, and no boys would like her. She believed them, and these messages stuck with her for years.
What this third-grader didn't know at the time was that a sweet, funny, popular little boy sat in the desk behind her and had a crush on her. He saw something different: a little girl who was kind, and smart, and compassionate—different from the other girls. She wouldn't learn this story until she was an adult. When the boy-turned-man confessed his childhood crush years later, it was like watering a nearly-dead plant. Before the pitcher of water, it could be assumed there wasn't much life left in the parched plant. His words absorbed in the soil of her heart and prompted new life to sprout. With wisdom, she decided to believe his version. His friendship, affection, and belief in her helped rewrite the little girl's story and to see herself differently as a woman.
And then she got ahead of herself and fell for him. She dreamed about what life with this kind man could be like. It was a nice fantasy, a beautiful one, really. Shared place, shared memories, shared values. But it wasn't to be. Long-distance, careers, children, and bad timing intervened. Time passed. He met someone else. More time passed and one day he announced he was getting married.
It would be so easy to wish none of this had happened. That he'd kept the crush to himself. That she hadn't fallen for him. But easy doesn't work for this woman. Experience has taught her that there is too much good stuff guaranteed to meet her on the other side of confusion and a bruised heart.
What she's learned so far: (in no particular order)
She deserves and is capable of a beautiful, healthy relationship.
Our view of what we see and believe about ourselves is limited.
People come into our lives exactly when we need them. In this case, this friend walked her into a new, exciting, and scary chapter of life.
She has so much to look forward to.
Life is best lived in the present. Too much time spent forecasting the future is problematic.
She has a resilient heart and spirit.
This time was not a waste.
Healing happens in unexpected ways.
Friendships can shift and change form and still be nourishing.
Seeing life as adventure and mystery are the best ways to navigate it.
Endings are always paired with new beginnings.
So many lessons that fortify her in this liminal, in-between stage of life.
Disappointments and sadness are inevitable. She is determined to weed them out when they crop up, and to plant seeds of hope and joy, humor and humility, growth and goodness. She's blooming where she's planted.