“You are the hardest person to encourage,” Mom said one night.
I blinked. “What?”
“You always have been,” she said, sort of smiling. “Any time someone tries to encourage you, you take it the wrong way.”
“You interpret it as ‘meddling,’” Daddy clarified to me.
I blinked again. Then laughed. “Oh gosh,” I said. “You’re right. I hate it. I’d rather people just stay out of my stuff.”
Daddy chuckled. “It’s really hard to deal with as parents,” he said. “We have to be like, ‘Oh, you want to write a novel? That’s nice.’”
“But I DO like encouragement sometimes!” I said. I thought about all the times I’d been proud of something I’d written, only to have my parents shrug it off like it was just mediocre. Their doing that suddenly made a lot more sense.
“When?” Mom asked, raising an eyebrow. “When do you like to be encouraged?”
“I…” I frowned. It was never the same. Sometimes I’d want praise on writing, sometimes not. Sometimes I’d want to be told I was a good dancer, sometimes I didn’t. “I don’t know,” I finally said. “You’re right. That’s…that’s got to be hard. But people who know me well can do it.”
I thought some of my friends. I don’t know HOW they do it, but somehow they manage to read the signs that say TELL ME SOMETHING NICE and the ones that say PRAISE ME AND DIE.
Of course, if my own family—not to mention ME—hasn’t figured out how, then...what does THAT say?? I have no idea.
And I still have no idea what the formula is for my appreciating encouragement. All I can say is that I must be one of the most difficult people in the entire world to deal with. God bless my friends. And good Lord, God bless my future husband, wherever he is.
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