“I did not go pee-pee in my swimsuit!”
I’m not sure if its a Southern thing or if it’s a Cindy (as in my mom) thing, but I grew up believing…I grew up knowing that it wasn’t enough just to do the right thing. People also had to think or to know that you were doing the right thing. Maybe it makes more sense to say it the opposite way. It wasn’t enough that you weren’t doing something wrong, you also had to make sure it didn’t look like you were doing something wrong. I had a serious fear of this when I was I younger. Well, and by younger I mean even now. Still. Today.
It’s not enough that I haven’t done anything wrong. I need you to know that I haven’t done anything wrong.
I remember driving around with a friend of mine one night in high school (seriously, why did we do that? Is that just a small-town thing because there’s no-where actually to go?) Anyway, we were driving and he starts toward “the line.” If you were a good girl, you never went to the line. Not only did you not go to the line, but you didn’t want people to even think you knew what the line was. And “the line” for those of you who don’t know, refers to the border between the God-fearing tee-totalers of southwest Arkansas (dry county) and the,well, less than god-fearing beer drinkers of Eagletown, Oklahoma. Anything could happen at the line and I knew the minute I crossed it that there would be a murder and I would be a witness and my name would be in the paper and the whole town would see in big black and white print “HALE girl eye-witness to murder at THE LINE.” It wouldn’t matter that I hadn’t done anything wrong; it wouldn’t matter that I was just along for the ride, all that would matter is what people would think.
And maybe it’s not just me. Yesterday, Emma Claire was stepping out of the pool, the warm water dripping off her hello kitty ruffles and she looks at me, eyes wide and sincere; pleading, and she says, “Mom, I’m not going pee-pee in my swimsuit…that’s just from the swimming pool.”
Joy. Total joy. I laugh loud and long and then I see. She is me. It’s not enough that she knows. She needs me to know, too.
I need people to know.
For the past ten months I’ve been walking around with water dripping off my suit, gushing to the point that I feel as though I may drown and I get these emails and people are praying for me and praying that I will change my mind and people that I hardly know tell me they “are concerned for me and my children because I am breaking God’s law” and people that I know very well and have loved and trusted for my entire adult life send me notes talking about losing respect and having no class and they think they know, but they don’t know and I want to get a microphone or a t-shirt or a freekin’ billboard and I want to scream, “It’s WATER, people. I’ts ONLY water.”
I want the judgers and the haters and the friends who actually know nothing about true friendship; I want them to know that I tried to clean it up. Towel after towel, prayer after prayer, I tried to stop the drip.
And you know it’s true. Some people really do go potty in the pool. And they don’t care. And they are not sorry. And there are not enough towels.
Lost time. Wasted energy. Wrecked emotions. Worrying, wondering, wanting people to know that it’s only water. And I’m done. God, in your grace and mercy help me to be done. Judgers, friends who don’t love, I have two amazing children to raise and I don’t have time care what you think. Today it’s not about how it looks….it’s not about looking like I’ve done the right thing. For the sake of my chidlren, it’s about just doing the right thing.
And I have.
And I am.