A few weeks ago I got an e-mail inviting me to speak to four AP Lit classes.
The teacher, one Mr. David Rickert, had been turned onto my blog by his wife and thought my philosophies on dating and love could serve as a great guide for his students in conjunction with the books they are reading this semester. They’re also all about to enter college, and naturally like any caring teacher, he is concerned for the fate of their little hearts.
I immediately responded with, “Absolutely.”
The chance of giving 18 year olds the advice I so sorely needed back then was too hard to pass up. So today I sat my butt down on that teeny tiny stool and started talking. And I didn’t stop until four hours and at least 60 kids later. Somewhere in the middle of hour three everything blurred together and I couldn’t remember if I was talking about man shopping, dating yourself or why you should never marry someone for their green card.
Right here I was probably telling them that true love was nothing like what they’d seen in those stupid vampire movies and that television has completely warped their sense of romantic reality.
And here I think I was telling them to rent babies for a day or two before deciding to marry someone.
Do newly weds even do that? Do they borrow babies for a day? Or maybe for two days? Why would you marry someone who you hadn’t at least spent 24 hours with in the company of a toddler or better yet, a newborn? To us single moms that idea is absolutely insane. I could go on and on and on. But I’ll let you guys have fun with that one in the comment section.
Instead let me share the one story that kept coming back and one I managed to tell consistently to each class. The story about John Bear and the scrambled eggs. Last weekend when I went to Michigan for Katie’s wedding I told John to make Benjamin scrambled eggs for breakfast because we were out of milk.
First it should be noted that John Bear is not, or maybe I should say was not, the best cook or cleaner. Once I actually spotted him spraying Windex on a wooden floor. Yeah. Anyway. I thought scrambled eggs would be an easy substitute for cereal but on while I was driving I got a frantic call from him “The scrambled eggs. They’re not right. I messed something up, they’re, they’re…”
“Like an omelet?” I asked.
“Yes! Like an omelet! What did I do? I’m looking up the recipe online, I’m trying to figure it out.”
“I’m looking it up online, how to make scrambled eggs.”
“OH MY GOD. You’re kidding me.”
“Can you please not yell at me right now, I am trying to figure this out and that’s not helping.”
“I know, I’m sorry but it’s like you’re asking me how to boil water. You put them in the pan and then you scramble them. You know, you move them around, you kind of stir them but more like scoop them.”
I hung up the phone with a huge sigh. Shaking my head I started wondering how I could possibly marry a man who didn’t know how to make scrambled eggs. Then, while envisioning myself cooking every meal for the rest of my life I started cursing myself for losing my temper. Why was I so mean just then? I imagined he would be upset all day, that there would be this awkward thing hanging in the air but then five minutes later the phone rang. It was John Bear.
“So? How did it go?” I asked.
“I am the MASTER OF SCRAMBLED EGGS!!” He shouted this into the phone like a guy who had just won a one-on-one match with his toughest competitor. I think I actually heard him jumping up and down.
I started laughing and then we were both laughing. After the laughing I apologized for snapping and then everything was fine. Our days went on and now, just a few weeks later it’s a hilarious story. The point is that John Bear may not know how to cook and clean like a pro but he is completely willing to learn.
He treats issues in life and in our relationship just like those scrambled eggs – he figures them out and doesn’t give up until he has. And that is what young women and men should look for in each other… how do they work through issues, challenges and how do they communicate their insecurities with you when something goes wrong. How do they bounce back?
It’s all about the scrambled eggs. Seriously. All of you happily married people know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Some side notes on what I would tell my 18 year old self…
Love doesn’t hurt.
Love doesn’t dump you.
Love doesn’t harbor ill will or bad feelings.
Love doesn’t ask anything of you.
Love is as calm as a still pond and love is a warm, warm blanket.
Do you feel this way about yourself?
That’s step one.
If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your 18 year old self?
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Ms. Single Mama Uncensored. I am giving away three copies… those of you who left comments on Facebook and Twitter today are already entered. And thank you so much, I read the answers out loud to the class and they were definitely effective.