I have always been a writer. When I was in third grade, I wrote a story and won third place in a district competition.
When I was in high school and college, I could rock the essay test like nobody’s business, but true and false got me every time.
I have volumes and volumes of journals I have written over the years, but my favorite thing to write? Letters.
My husband and I wrote letters to each other every week for two years while he served as a missionary – before we were married, of course. I kept every one of them and, a few years ago, compiled them into a (very large) binder.
It has been far too long since I have written anything just for the sake of writing. But writing helps me take the jumbled mess of ideas constantly swirling around in my brain and turn them into something coherent. It helps me to see hope and light in the darkness. It helps me to process my emotions and the world at large.
And I have been missing it.
So, for fun, I will start writing letters to you about life, love, family, faith, and all the good things I have been glossing over by running faster than I have strength.
With that in mind, here is the first in a series of letters from me to you.
The title “friend” is so vague. I cannot picture your face when I refer to you in that manner. And, while I know you could be named Rachel or Aubrey or Melinda or a thousand other beautiful options, I will call you Grace. Grace is filled with hope, love, peace, and acceptance.
Grace is what I long for, so Grace you will be.
Alright, Grace, since we are now both friends and pen-pals, there are a few things you should know about me. I have already decided to tell you everything because I want you to know me for who I am. No pretense allowed. But how much do I tell you in our inaugural letter? Perhaps, just enough to for a black-and-white sketch. The colors will come later.
First, I am a tall girl: five feet and nine inches, to be exact. I have been that tall since the seventh grade, bless my lanky little heart.
When I was a teenager, I hated my height because I was taller than all the boys. Now I love it. Sometimes, I even wear three-inch heels on my size 12 feet, put on my bright pink sweater and lipstick, and walk with my head held high. When vertically-challenged men see me in heels, look at my feet, and ask me why I do that to them, I smile and keep walking. Their insecurity is not my doing.
I have been married to my husband, Greg, for almost 24 years now. That makes me sound old, but do not jump to any conclusions just yet about the state of my wrinkles or grey hair. You may be picturing the crypt keeper, but I am practically a spring chicken. At least that is what I tell myself. Please do not burst my bubble.
I got married one month after my twentieth birthday. I will let you do the math to determine my current age. Math has never been my strong suit. Just ask my college calculus professor. On second thought, please don’t ask him. I repeat: DO NOT ask Dr. Whatshisname about my understanding of derivatives and antiderivatives. Let’s just agree that the written word is where I shine, and numbers are for the birds.
At 20-years-old, in the days leading up to my marriage, I felt invincible. I have always been responsible, so the ginormous decision to tie the knot when I was barely out of high school did not seem like much of a leap. I was confident in my ability to “adult” with the best of them. I had, in actuality, been adulting for years before I went to college.
Even as a child, my innate ability and drive to make wise decisions, mixed with a deep desire to be a peacemaker, led me to feel responsible for things way beyond my actual scope of influence.
My parent’s finances? My responsibility. (“PLEASE don’t ask Mom and Dad for anything. I know they cannot afford it.”)
My mom’s self-esteem? My responsibility. (“I don’t know why Mom keeps saying she is the worst mom ever. Was it something I did?”)
My family’s timeliness? My responsibility. (“PLEASE get in the car RIGHT NOW, so we don’t get in trouble for being late to class AGAIN!)
From my earliest days, adulting was in my blood. Consequently, the transition to being a married woman at the ripe old age of 20 was not a difficult one for me. Parenthood? Well, that is another story altogether.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
My husband, Greg, is my opposite in just about every way. Not too long ago, our oldest son, now 22, said, “Mom, I have no idea how you and Dad ever got together. You two are so different!”
But somehow, we work great together. We are on the same page with all the big things (religion, politics, parenting), and our differences make life interesting except when it comes to choosing a restaurant. Then, all bets are off. (I do not want burgers or steak, thank you very much! Please give me a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the food speaks for itself and includes plenty of colorful produce. No, my friend, that is not frou-frou!)
Greg and I are the parents of five children who are not children anymore. There is Jordan (22), Andrew (20), Elise (18), Kate (15), and Carson (12). My motherhood journey is one that we will get into later because it is much too involved for this letter. That story, however, is inextricably connected to who I am today. Stay tuned for the juicy details that are likely to both inspire and shock you.
Don’t worry; I will keep you on your toes. While my life is ordinary, it is rarely boring. You can always count on me for a laugh, a thoughtful anecdote, a big-picture perspective to help you see the forest over the trees, or a word of encouragement.
My friends tell me I am a good listener who gives great advice.
My husband tells me I am grounded, steady, and the most beautiful woman in the world. He brings romance to my practicality.
My kids tell me my favorite phrase is, “Pick up your crap!” and that I cook delicious food. Bless them for their brutal honesty.
If I were to choose three words to describe myself, they would be (drumroll, please) …faithful, determined, and optimistic. But (slightly) sassy comes in as a close fourth.
I recently asked Jordan to tell me which Disney character is most like me. I was thinking maybe Mulan or Merida because nobody gets in my way when I set my mind on something. His pick? Tinkerbell because she is quiet but sassy.
So, there you have it, Grace. That is me in a nutshell.
There are a thousand more things I could tell you, but all in good time.
I cannot wait!
Lynnette (Your quiet and sassy new friend)
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