the L word

This morning I had to write a nice letter for an awards ceremony.
Actually it was due last week, but I’ve kind of been putting it off.
Me, who likes to write and especially likes homework, was totally dreading this assignment.
Because nice words are hard for me.
They always sound a little forced or corny.
Like maybe they belong in a greeting card.
I get all stressed out when someone makes me sign a yearbook or a group card.
I want my words to be clever and touching and not to say the same old lame stuff.
And in this blog I tend to write things that are honest or hard or funny.
But nice. Not so much.

And I am a nice person.
I’ll buy your coffee.
I’ll run your copies.
Give you all my books.
Or watch your kid if you ask.

But I am not so good at telling
(My favorite people especially)
How great they are.
How much I like them.
I completely avoid the L word.
Or try to throw it in all casually rather than with the intensity it deserves.

Recently I tried to tell a friend some nice things.
And it took everything in me to get out about half of it.
And even then I’m sure I mumbled and looked down and that she couldn’t understand a word I was saying.
Which kind of defeats the point.

In high school and college and summer camp we would write these ridiculously long corny letters to each other. About how much we were glad we were friends.
And they were filled with inside jokes that I don’t even remember anymore.
And I saved these letters. Most of them are in the attic in a black footlocker.
From friends that I have kept and others that have slipped away.
And I re-read them from time to time. And they are young and silly.
But their words still speak something warm and good into my soul.
Even if they sounded a bit like a Micheal W Smith song.
And maybe corny isn’t so bad.

I used to have a friend who wouldn’t let me off the phone unless I said I love you back.
Which was good practice for me.
Maybe I should call her up.
It used to be easier. I used to say it more.
And yes I tell my husband and kids that multiple times a day.
But friends and relatives.
Not so much. Almost never.

And I’m not really sure why.
And I assume that they know.
But it is still hard. And the words catch in my throat and I feel naked and embarrassed.
Which only frustrates me.
But sometimes I should tell them.
Outloud or on paper.

And I’ll start now. With people I never talk about in my blog…
Because maybe they are a little too close.

Shaun. I know that I am the luckiest. That you pull more than your share of the weight and love me and our children with a strong and steady force. (and no that wasn’t a star wars reference). That you are constant when I am a mess. That you have always been my home. (even if it is a messy one).

Rhonda, Wendy and Tina. Thanks for being my friend. For the coffee, and the pictures, and the books, the road trips, for flea bombing my house while I was out of town, for listening to the rants, for hospital visits, for food, for driving, for forgiving me when I am an insensitive jerk and lots of laughing. But mostly just for being there.

And I know I left a few of you out. Maybe I’ll tell you in person. As long as you don’t mind me mumbling incoherently and staring at my shoes.


samskat said...

I love those silly corny letters from jr high and high school. And Michael W Smith STILL makes me tear up. More years than I care to count later. Good luck with your letter, I'm glad we're still friends. Love you. :)