I did it. I actually caught Maya doing something not OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO AMAZINGLY PERFECT AND TOTALLY CRUSHING LIFE RIGHT NOW.
Oh my gosh, you guys. Maya Keenan-Gallagher may actually have 1 teeny, tiny human bone in her superhero body.
We are all here sitting on my bed and in my bedroom talking about our day since we haven’t seen each other in a while, and Jonah gets all excited telling me a story about some of his friends at school.
It was actually a really great story, so I said, “Jonah, that’s AWESOME!”
He disappointingly says, “Well, that’s cool because that’s NOT what Maya said when I told her.”
“What’d she say?”
“She said, ‘Jonah, I can’t wait until you get to high school and realize that none of what goes on right now matters at all.'”
I immediately looked at Maya expecting her to defend herself by saying she never that. But, she didn’t.
“Maya! You would be devastated if I ever said that to you.”
“That would be like me saying, ‘Maya, everything you’re going through right now, and everything you’ve been through in the last couple years, doesn’t even matter.'” I, literally, put the brakes on right there because I know for a fact that if I so much as went into an explanation she would never speak to me again.
She thought about it for 3-5 seconds, and…in her defense…without being defensive at all or trying to make me feel like I was talking out of place, Maya says, “Oh, I see. Yeah, Jo, I’m sorry.”
Two things I loved about that.
First, I obviously love how she is so open to criticism and willing to admit when she’s wrong. Without trying to talk herself out of it. Without making excuses. And, without fake apologizing. She genuinely felt sorry for what she said.
Second, the recognition of this basic idea that I think we all forget sometimes: everything matters…to someone.
I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and in what is important to us, forgetting that everyone on this planet is simultaneously having their own personal experiences and have totally different things going on that are important to them.
Maya lost sight on how even though Jonah is a middle schooler who, in her mind, doesn’t have to deal with all of the obstacles and pressures that she does, he is having experiences right now that are feeling to him as monumental and heavy as her experiences are to her.
What makes this all even more interesting, and pertinent, is that if you were to ask anyone in Maya’s social circle or even the adults in her family, they would hands down say that Maya is one of the best people they know at caring about their lives over her own. But, as you would expect from lots of older siblings with their younger sisters or brothers, things change a little.
I think it’s worth all of us taking some extra care to notice who we are really good at caring for, and the people that we either aren’t as close with or the people that we naturally have a different relationship with and measure how well we “care” for them, too.
The little bit of extra energy it takes to care about what someone else is experiencing, the good and the bad, carries a lot more weight than we will likely ever know or understand.
And, that’s why it’s worth that little bit of extra energy.