Wow, I can’t believe how young you look.
I can’t believe I’m almost double your age already. It’s like I blinked and someone handed me a husband, two babies and a minivan.
I KNOW! We swore we’d never own one. We were wrong. About lots of things.
I won’t keep you long. I know you have to get back to crying about boys, screaming at mom and drama rehearsal.
But, I just want to let you in on a little secret. You know that guy you pass right by in the hallway at school? You don’t talk to him much because he’s not a part of the cool crowd. Let’s be honest here, you’re not really part of the cool crowd either. But you’re definitely cooler than him.
Regardless, you won’t see him at the parties you attend. He spends his weekends playing in the band. Not A band…THE band. Yeah. He’s the one in all the advanced, nerd classes. The one who thinks his Boo Boo and “Bob walks into a bar” shirts are fashionable.
Or maybe he just doesn’t care if they are or not. He’s the one who’s not ashamed to talk about his family or his faith. The one who drives the old, tacky pickup truck. What a dork, right?
Yeah. Um…you’re going to marry him in approximately 7 years.
I know, I know. Don’t freak out. It’s a lot to digest right now.
Just hear me out.
This guy is the real deal. He’s an amazing father. The kind of father you have. He’s the husband you picture in your daydreams — minus the “cool” factor. But let’s talk about the cool factor for a minute.
You know what’s cool when you’re my age?
A man who treats his wife like she is a treasure to be cherished. A man who cries when he sees you cry. A man who plays with and PRAYS with his children. A man who isn’t afraid to lovingly discipline his children for their own good.
A man who continually strives to learn more and challenge himself intellectually. A man who can do math in his head…while he cooks your dinner. A man who says, “You go relax, I’ve got the dishes.” A man who joyfully SERVES his family. A man whose idea of fun is a date night out with you. Or a quiet evening at home with the kids. This is a REAL, cool man.
Also, he’s a pilot in the Air Force which is cool by any standard. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
Many of those guys you’re obsessed with now are still single, unhappily married or sadly divorced. Why? Because they never learned that love is a VERB. Not an emotion.
You remember verbs, right? Quit sleeping during English! It’ll come in handy one day when you’re making money as a writer.
We’re not there yet, though. You had to pop out a couple of humans first.
My point is that the things that are so important to you now will most certainly change. You won’t make it big on Broadway or in Hollywood by the time you’re my age. That audition at Juilliard…
…it won’t kickstart an acting career.
And though your bags will already be packed, that move to Los Angeles when you’re 17 won’t happen. You’ll be disappointed. Heartbroken, even. But you’ll realize when you’re my age that God caused those things to happen for your good.
You’ll actually go to college (I know, right?), graduate in less than a decade (I KNOW!), start your career, get married, move a thousand times with the military, start another career, have some babies, and find a new at-home career to start all over again.
You’ll learn about marriage. You’ll learn that it is WORK and not at all what you thought. And that beautiful wedding you daydream about even now — the one that will practically cost your parents their life savings — will be over in a blink.
You will wear that gorgeous gown one time. ONE DAY. And then the real work will begin.
Exactly one year into marriage, you’ll leave him.
You’ll run back home to mom and dad like a bratty teenager (sorry). You’ll swear you’re never going back because it’s not what you expected. You won’t feel like you’re in love any more. And you won’t be. You truly won’t be “in love” at that point. It takes you exactly one year of marriage to fall out of love. I think that is some kind of record.
But you’ll remember those vows. Those nagging vows. The ones you made before God that talked about love. Not the feeling kind. The action kind. (Back to verbs again. Seriously, quit sleeping during class!)
Months will turn into years, and you’ll learn about forgiveness. You’ll learn how to forgive. And how to be forgiven. You will learn to love (action!) him again. And one day you’ll wake up and realize that you love him more than you did the first time he kissed you in the parking lot at school.
Romantic as that is (I guess), you’ll love him more than that. Exponentially more.
So, in summary, you’re not famous, you marry the dorkiest guy you know, things get really bad, you stay married anyway, you get pregnant and your body stretches beyond recognition, you spend most days listening to babies cry, you are ankle deep in feces, and in your free time you write essays. LOTS of essays.
I think that just about covers it.
Except that you’ll be insanely happy.
Happier than you ever dreamed.
Not because you’re rich, famous or fabulous.
But because you have love.
The undeserved, eternal kind.