Because I really like letters: A letter to me.
It’s your birthday! Your 24th birthday and you are just beginning your career in teaching at Noble Crossing Elementary School. That first week was rough, but now you’ve made it to your second week. Don’t worry, your worst weeks are yet to come, but the best weeks are far more than those that aren’t.
But, Makenna your life isn’t going to be just your job. In fact, that day in September when you will come home crying because you will feel like you failed as a teacher, as a friend, and will talk about always being alone the rest of your life, rest assured, it’s child’s play compared to what you have coming for you.
It will change when you least expect it. It will be like they always said it would be. “It comes without warning,” and they were right.
Makenna, conferences are going to come in October and the second conference of the evening will bring to you an energetic mom, whose name you can’t pronounce. She will make you feel uncomfortable when she asks you your story; your relationship status. You’re going to blush and think it’s strange, but you’ll smile because what else is there to do? It will turn out that she knows someone, he’s a real sweet guy and he’s single. You would be perfect together—she will tell you she’s a matchmaker. When she asks you if she can share his number with you when she gets it, you agree and laugh. After the conference you tell all the teachers in the lounge and you all laugh together about the stories of conferences and forget about the silly parent.
But you shouldn’t have. A week later you’ll get an email with a name and a number. You’ll sit there staring at your phone and all the men from the dating sites boring you to tears. You will tell yourself, “why not?” and “what do I have to lose?” The answer is nothing. Give it a shot.
The tall and handsome man, whose name you now know is Max (just Max he says, not Maxwell) texts back. And so it begins! The texting relationship. The butterflies will flutter from the bottom of your stomach to the part of your esophagus that must be directly controlled by your heart. The calls start, the giggles continue. Pretty soon, you’ve learned enough to know he’s different from the missed swipes and the “DTF?” texts from online dating. He’s genuine.
When you finally meet, your heart can barely stay in your chest. All 6’9 of him comes up to the door and engulfs you in a hug. From days of playing football in his past, he will be the perfect amount of sturdy for you. You will fit perfectly in his arms; he will later tell you that they were made for only you.
The next few weeks you will try not to fall fast, but you do. He will love you and you will love him. For once you’re not the best friend who has to listen to all the oohing and ahhing that goes with new boyfriends, it’s your turn. For once you can tell people “it will hit you without warning.” You’ll smile because you are so happy. It will start to make sense why you decided to come home in August; you will have come home to find him.
Don’t worry, it’s not only one sided. Max will love you too! He will look at you with his beautiful blues and tell you, you are the woman he’s been waiting for his entire life. He will tell you that he wants to marry you tomorrow, but you will laugh and say that you need to wait. He will hold you tight and kiss your stomach, wishing your future children together so much love. All of your family, all of your family friends, everyone will look at the two of you and see how in love you both are with each other. They will call your story a Hallmark story; you’ll smile because you agree.
But see the thing about love that was told to you many times, is that love is blind. And while you were blind and in love, there were some things that weren’t adding up. Missed phone calls, cancelled dates, four evenings and nights together, then a week without being together. His job is demanding, you’ll find. He’s a big engineer at a big company—capitalism and money are only one under you in importance.
Then he will go out of town unexpectedly and will be gone until Christmas. Your biggest advocates will take notice. They will come down off that cloud a lot faster than you. They will research. They will question. They will research. Three days later you will be sitting with your parents on the couch after getting off the phone with Max (who will be in North Dakota saving the world) and they will tell you that something is wrong. They will have seen Max’s car at his work last night Friday evening and today they will have seen his car at his house Saturday morning.
His car will be seen at his house Saturday morning with a black car parked beside it.
It turns out Max, is not just a Max. He is a Maxwell. A Maxwell with a different last name then the one he told you he was going to change yours to. He’s a Maxwell who is from Indiana, not New York City like he told you too. He’s a Maxwell who is married. Married to a woman since 2013, who drives that car that will sit outside of his house. You will sit with a blank look on your face because you’ve never had to experience a hole in your heart so big so quickly. It cannot be true.
The more you find out, the more proof you see, the more the tears falls, the sobs escape and the weakness takes hold. Every person, who ever loved you, will send their love and their ear for you. No one will know what to say; yet everyone will give you the same look. You poor girl.
You’ll confront Max. You’ll text him like crazy and try to make sense of it all. But how can you trust someone who has hurt you beyond repair? You’ll cry until you think you can’t cry anymore, and then cry some more. You’re cheeks will be permanently red for a while and your students will say you look tired at school.
You’ll question everything. You’ll research any tiny bit of information you have. You have to know the truth. But, the only truth you can take away is the truth that your heart is shredded into tiny bits. How could you have been so blind?
You’ll go through every level of grief and mourning over the loss of a love that once was so breathtaking. Left with a hole so hollowing that you’ll have to curl yourself into a ball to try to close it.
…But you’ll be ok.
For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
Every day you will get stronger. People will start to forget. Even though you will wish it were that easy for you, you will start to realize there’s more than just the heartache.
That short time you had together you will have learned more than just his love for you. You will have learned your heart was capable of such a love. You will have been good at being a girlfriend, a best friend, someone’s biggest advocate. You will have shined giving your all to someone. Your heart was made to love someone so deeply and hopefully it will love again.
You’ll hurt for a while, but you’ll pray everyday for some peace. You’ll find strength when you are weak, it just might come in coffee form, good concealer and many tissues.
I can’t tell you when it will stop. I can’t tell you that you’ll find something like it again. But one thing is for sure, you’ll remember that you are capable of that love, which is something you will celebrate eventually.
Above all else, what I want you to remember, what you will remind yourself of daily is:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know”
You can do this.
With all the love I have,
Makenna (December 23rd)