A few years ago, I got to be there when one of my friends found her wedding dress.
This particular store did it right. They got her ready in the first dress without letting her see anything. Then, they took her over to the big mirrored platform, telling her to keep her eyes hidden as they helped her up, straightened her out, put a veil in her hair, and then told her to look. Ta-da! She was a bride!
I remember the first time I tried on a wedding dress and did that whole song and dance. I remember that I very nearly shrieked, at the top of my lungs when I saw myself in the mirror, “I’m a BRRRRRRIIIIIDDDDDEEEEE!” Didn’t matter that I didn’t even end up picking that dress. Still thrilling. (Seriously, I think the only thing that trumped that moment was Wes seeing me on our wedding day. Because I was a BRRRRRRRIIIIIDDDDDEEEEE, you know.)
Anyway, back to my friend.
I was anticipating the same gushing, over the top, crazed reaction when she opened her eyes. But she simply looked at herself, gave a small smile, and said nothing.
When I expressed some surprise that she wasn’t having some huge, big, BRRRRRIIIIDDDDDEEEEE moment, she said this…
“Oh, well, I wore a dress almost exactly like this to my high school prom. So, you know. Been there, done that.”
I was so sad about this. It’s a dress, y’all. I know that. Not everyone has to have a “moment” because it’s a dress. I know. And it wasn’t even the blah attitude over the dress that made me sad. It was that a moment that should have had significant meaning meant absolutely nothing.
Because… been there, done that.
We had a really weird conversation with Ana the other day that revolved around a game she and her friends at school have started playing, involving matching up their names with boys in their class and talking about whether they’ll kiss or hug these boys. (Third grade, y’all. I can’t even handle it.) Ana told me about it, explained how it worked, and said they all thought it was really funny.
“Do you want to kiss and hug any of these boys? Do you like any of these boys?,” I asked, while Wes suffered slight heart failure across the room. (Get ready, Papi. We’re only in the third grade.)
“No,” she whispered, blushing and breaking out the shifty eyes. (Oh, my. She’s noticed boys. Third grade. Can’t. Handle. It.)
I shushed the freaking out harpy in my head and continued discussing this calmly with my child. (Be impressed, friends.)
“Because if you do?,” I said. “That’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s okay to like boys. It’s good to like boys. I liked boys when I was your age.”
She didn’t seem to know how to take this. Mortification, astonishment… curiosity?
Maybe a little bit of all three. (Oh, great. We’re already at this age, y’all! Third grade!)
I kept going, praying as I went.
“God made you so that one day, you would like a boy enough to promise to love him forever, be his best friend, marry him, and have a family with him,” I said. “God wants you to feel that way. But do you think He wants you to hug and kiss every boy out there that you might like along the way?”
“It’s just a game, Mommy,” she said.
And she’s right. Now? What they’re doing now? Is just a game. But it’s a game that starts her thinking on things that are best left for another season. It gets her to start flirting, in a really bizarre third grade way, with boys who will, in a few years, start to flirt back. And then, kisses and hugs won’t be theoretical, and her heart, which God made to want these affirmations and these moments with a boy, will get caught up enough in it all that she’ll give away every precious moment on lesser things until the real thing, what God has intended for her, is all… well, been there, done that.
I think of all the beautiful, special, wonderful moments God has for us. Moments made and appointed for a certain time, for the right time, for what He’s planned for us. To give us hope and a future, a good plan, a fulfillment of the best that He wants for us. And I think of how easily we try to trade it for something premature so that when He brings us to that moment, it’s been there, done that.
I tried to communicate this all to Ana, in a way that she can understand, in a way that makes sense to her at her age and makes a difference in the way she’ll do things in the more challenging years ahead. And I probably did a bad job of it. But at the heart of it was that things, even simple things like liking a boy or kissing a boy, are precious things that God has given to her, wants to bless her with at the right time. And that games little girls play in the third grade that make light of something that God takes so seriously because He loves her so intensely and has such incredible plans for her in this… well, that they’re not worth playing.
Call me crazy, I know. But I could see my friend, looking at herself beautifully adorned as a BRRRRIIIIDDDDEEEE and saying, “Been there, done that.”
I don’t want my girls to receive what God has for them, for their futures, and have any reason at all to think, “Been here, done this.” I know that there is grace and that they won’t get everything right along the way as they’re discovering who they are and following Christ. But I sincerely hope and pray that they will begin to have hearts that treasure Him above all else and that they’ll keep precious things precious because they trust His timing.
Praying that the seeds of faith and wisdom that we sow today will bear fruit in the years to come…