I have learned that the little people in my life wield honesty much like a sword. They swing it around wildly, and sometimes it hits its mark with the amazing ability to slice through all the b.s. and just get right down to business. Some of the most important things I’ve been told (or reminded of) lately have come from the little folks.
Some things they say are funny, and some are brutal in their innocent honesty.
For example, last night, as I was frantically getting ready for my very first Agents’ Conference EVER. You know, the one I have been fretting over. The one that has been making me eat Tums for breakfast every day this week and the one that has given me a twin set of nerve-induced stomach ulcers. Also the one where I’m convinced I will probably do something to humiliate myself…something like vomit on a prominent agent’s shoes or other things equally mortifying. Anyway, just a case of minor nerves, but I digress. I was getting ready for that, and as I stood staring blanking into my closet, hoping that my fairy godmother would miraculously appear and deliver the magical outfit that would be the most appropriate to pack in my suitcase, one of my 5-year-olds appeared.
I happened to be trying on a new dress. It looked awesome online—one of those really cute maxi dresses with an empire waist. Except when I stood 5 minutes later staring at it in the mirror, I looked like a middle-aged pregnant lady who already has five kids and who CLEARLY doesn’t know what causes that phenomenon. At the very moment I was turning to get a side view of the dress to assess whether or not to leave it behind, the 5-year-old piped up.
“That dress looks FAT, Mama.”
Ummm, I immediately assumed he didn’t mean the ‘ph’ kind of phat, as in, ‘Mama, you are rockin’ that dress.’ Oh, no. He was looking at the expanse of fabric in awe as if he were contemplating making a parachute with which to jump from the roof. Well, craptactular. Back to the drawing board. The dress stayed behind.
I have received other tidbits of honesty lately.
A little girl I was coaching at the gym said to me, “Coach, why do your feet look so OLD?”
After I finished sobbing into my spare pair of gym socks, I replied, “Oh, sweetie, these feet have been a lot of places. Just you wait.”
Both of my 5-year-olds tell me daily, “Mama, you’re my BEST friend.” That’s pretty honest. Hearing that makes me happy beyond belief and also sad that someday they’ll grow up and I won’t get to hold that esteemed position in their little lives. Every time they tell me that, it makes me want to spend more time with them than ever.
My 10-year-old told me not long ago, “If you’re still breathing, you keep trying.” Um, wow. So I guess I’m going to go to this conference, and I’m going to keep writing, and I’m going to keep trying. Because if a 10-year-old has it figured out, then she’s got some things to teach me.
And also, I’m pretty sure I’ll hear some honesty from some adults this weekend as I meet new faces in the publishing world, and for the first time ever, I’m feeling brave enough to hear it.