I've written to you before, Jubilee, about climbing mountains.
This time I'm writing to you about romance. As you get older, your thoughts will be bent on it, and so this is an important letter.
It is very difficult to find an excellent book to read. That is something else you will notice as you get older. There are words tossed into print all the time, and some of them form a loose story, like a bit of knitting made with cheap yarn. It looks like a scarf, but it feels like plastic to the touch, the color is too bright, and there are holes all through it. So when you find a good book (well-knit with soft, strong yarn dyed the colors of the earth) treasure it, share it, and never settle for less. If you do, you'll dull your mind.
So this week I found a good book. It is called The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. It is isn't the best book I've ever read, but it is a good book.
I loved reading about the night the heroine meets the hero, for they realize what your dad and I realized when we met. The scene brings back wonderful memories for me, and I am grateful to the author for having put into words what I never could:
"He laughs. And in his laugh I hear bliss. I hear feet dancing, the rush of skirts twirling. The sound of children. Is that the first sign of love? You hear in the person you're destined to love the sound of those yet to be born."
Because you see, I had boyfriends before your dad. Boyfriends who left me in tears, clinging to such relics as over-exposed photographs, dried corsages, and gold-plated earrings that never were my style.
It dawned on me while reading The Lost Wife that these past relationships had one thing in common. They happened by accident.
One of them was the result of my friend hearing me wrong. When I said, "I'm not really interested in him," she thought I said, "I'm interested in him." Then later, she was so proud of herself for having set us up, thinking she had done me such a favor, I couldn't bear to back out.
Another was a boy who played basketball and wore very big jackets - two things that always turned me off. But he was so liked by my friends and he had the right social status, so I went out with him.
The third was the friend of a boy I had hoped to go out with. I was only being nice to him to get to his friend. But when the wrong one asked me out, I thought, 'What the heck.' He did have a cute smile I hadn't noticed before.
Jubilee, hear me tell you something very important. Are you listening? The female heart is a lump of clay. Not even interested at first, I was so smitten by the time the breakups came along, I cried my eyes out.
If you allow your heart to be planted, love will grow. That is why I urge you to guard that great big heart of yours.
Until he introduces himself and your skin tingles, as if you've always known that name, as if "Rupp" was your name in a dream you once had, a dream long-forgotten until now. And in that moment you smile because you know this will be no accidental relationship. This kind of beginning is a beginning, prologue, and epilogue all at once.
Take Richman's good advice, my girl. Wait until you hear your childrens' voices when he laughs.