I went shopping today. I still have quite a bit of Christmas shopping to do, but I'm proud to say I finished most of it this afternoon. Thanks to my mom for making that possible by keeping the kids for me!
While I was at a local store, I came across a small bottle of perfume. It was the first perfume I ever owned. My grandmother, Mimi, gave it to me when I was 12. Anybody else remember ex.cla.ma.tion! ? There was one tiny, battered little box on the table so I opened it up and sprayed a little on my wrist. With one sniff of that scent, I time warped back to 7th grade. We were still fairly new to town and I was self-concsious. I was stuck in that awful, gawky, Irish Setter stage of life, all knees, elbows and nose. I had yet to shave my legs and I wasn't allowed to wear make-up. I was in junior high, navigating my way through a whole new world of catty, petty hesaidshesaid. I had frizzy hair due to a bad perm (it was 1990 people) and oily skin thanks to the brand new hormones raging through my body.
Outwardly, I still hated the opposite sex, though I possessed secret crushes on a couple of the boys in my class. I would never admit to these crushes, though, because then I would absolutely die from humiliation. I was dramatic and silly. I was still a bit of a tomboy and got into the occasional fight with the neighbor boy. I gave him a black eye that year. Byt the next year, however, the boys had finally outgrown me and I grew smart enough to stop picking fights.
In seventh grade, I desperately wanted to fit in, but did not know how. Not being from St. Louis, I was an outsider trying to compete with people who'd known each other for years. When I began seventh grade, I was still very innocent. My parents did such a good job of protecting my brother and I that I did not know a lot of heartache or hurt. In seventh grade, however, I experienced death for the first time when my aunt died without explanation. In seventh grade, I also realized that sometimes life is tough and that there is pain that can be much deeper than the surface wounds I had always known. In seventh grae, I lost a bit of innocence due to painful and trying family circumstances that surrounded my aunt's death. But, in seventh grade, I also saw strength modeled with grace as my parents held our family together despite their own heartaches. In seventh grade, I knew true peace because it was modeled to me through my parents.
I learned a lot in seventh grade. I learned more as the years went on and innocence melted away. But nothing stands out more to me than seeing my parents lean on one another through the most disheartening of circumstances. And I am thankful for that model. It is that model that gave me the ability to say to my own husband on our wedding day that I will never, ever divorce him. Times may get tough - but I was shown that love can withstand. And that's what I learned in seventh grade.
Now I'm going to go take a shower because I still smell like that perfume and it's really not that great of a smell...