Let me start with: I come in peace.
I’m a big believer that it’s best to keep mixed company; it holds our eyes open and perspectives pliable. It makes us question ourselves, even if that questioning never makes it into the public sphere. It moderates our judgement.
That said, as I creep closer to thirty, I’m realizing how important candor is–both for relationship health and for one’s personal wellness (it is psychologically exhausting to act as if one is open, especially without pay). And bad for one’s health.
In the spirit of transparency and at the risk of alienating (pun intended) some of you, I’m here with an admission. I do not understand you sentimental types. And while I’m not here to pass judgement, I do want to set some realistic boundaries so we can enjoy a harmonious partnership.
1. I may not be able to help myself from performing a theatre-worthy eye roll when you use terms like “bundle of joy,” “lovebirds,” “hubs,” “bubs,” or any sort of endearing abbreviation for a member of your family. Hopefully I’ll have enough tact to wait until you’re digging in your purse for your matching mother/daughter hair bows before my baby blues loll deep into their sockets, but I can’t promise anything.
2. I’m more likely to get you a card like this:
via JulieAnn Art
rather than this:
3. If you invite me to your playgroup’s singalong, I will come prepared with my own lyrics. They most certainly won’t be age-appropriate and they’ll be sung for my amusement only, at a barely discernible volume.
4. I eat profanity for breakfast, and it comes back up throughout the day, mostly involuntarily. I will attempt to disguise it in front of your children, but I can’t promise anything. And though I’ll always apologize immediately after, it might happen again in a few minutes. Please revisit my policy on swearing for more info.
5. Let’s not get sentimentality and sincerity confused with one another. Sentimental is responding to a crisis in your bestie’s life (or for any other reason) with one of those LIVE LOVE (INSERT OTHER OBVIOUS AND CHEESY VERB IN ALL-CAPS) wooden plaques, or forwarding a cute meme about motherhood. Sincere is me trying my damnedest to hug and intoxicate the heartache out of you when your cat dies or your husband turns out to be a total jackass. It’s me sticking up for your kid in a toddler brawl like a she-wolf with teeth shining.
6. Or cute and cutesy, for that matter. A baby bunny is cute. Your baby is cute. But your headband-donning baby clutching said baby bunny in an Easter photo is cutesy. Much of what people consider romantic also falls into the latter category for me. We can avoid the awkward me-pretending-to-have-an-appointment convo when you ask me over if you find another victim friend to replay your wedding footage or triage proofs from your lakeside engagement shoot. Believe me when I say it’s best for everyone.
I have a feeling that none of the above will come as a revelation to some of you, but if you’re reading this and feeling particularly prickly, calm yourself. Sure, I might quietly hide your latest slew of blurry facebook photos of little Jimmy (insert verb)-ing his first (insert noun), have no comment about the super cute family portraits you got taken over the weekend, and respond with a blank stare to you waxing lyrical about your recent all-inclusive vacation. But it’s only because I do the surprised-dog-head-tilt at the part of you that goes YAY at this stuff. Despite my bafflement, I still accept you, as you are. I still love and respect you. And little Jimmy.
If you can accept the above terms and reciprocate my (conditional) love, in a sold-as-is kind of way, we have ourselves a deal, and a pretty sturdy bridge between our two planets.