I have this charm on a simple, black necklace. It’s a silver letter “M” that I saw during a rare outing with Mike at the mall. He totally made fun of me for buying it, but I liked it for some reason and I still do. Jewelry is an afterthought most days for me; I keep my favorites reserved for kid-free nights away from home. But the “M” caught my eye as well as my mind this morning, so I popped it on.
You’d think that after a thirty-six year long relationship with the letter “M”, these thoughts might have occurred to me at some other point in time. They haven’t however and all at once I was taken back by how incredibly interesting the shape of the letter “M” really is and how perfect of a letter it is for me. Just like my true-to-form astrological symbol, the scales of Libra, my “M” seems to be nicely balanced and symmetrical. The high reaching peaks are sharply contrasted by the deep grooves underneath, always leaving plenty of room for ups and downs. And that’s what life has been full of for sure.
Just like my “M”, I have been blessed with joyous highs while also spending some time in the valleys of life. While I may not choose to relive the trying times, I am thankful for each step of my journey. My “M” and I both continue to reach skyward and keep spirits pointing up, mindful of the heights to which we can soar. Those mountains and valleys may not always be ideal, but they sure keep things interesting.
Parenthood, one of my favorite movies of all time, has an interaction between Steve Martin’s character and his grandmother. It goes like this:
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
Even as a young kid seeing that movie for the first of many times, I knew the grandma’s point of view made sense to me. For most of us, life is complicated. There are forks in the road, wrenches in the works, great surprises and incredible rewards. There is first love heartache and the cherished memories of realizing you’ve found your soul mate. There is the gratitude that makes hard learned lessons worth every bump and bruise and sweetness in childhood whispers that makes you want it all to last forever.
It’s true that these whispers come from the same little people who huff and puff and scream the word “no” and that your soul mate may occasionally omit “birthday card” from the brain waves. Still, I’ll take the roller coaster - I’ll take the highs and lows of my letter “M”, over the merry-go-round any day.