This is a thank you letter.
For years I would count backwards. “Who isn’t here?”, “Who didn’t respond?”, “Who didn’t understand, invest in, thank, appreciate me?” I used a complex formula of value assigned to each person which I multiplied by the frequency of their disappointing behavior, divided by excuses for their absence, subtracted my own failings, and then I added four. I may have based it off some sort of conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Regardless, I would obsess over the numbers, get buried in fractions of relationships, it was all a mess. And then I learned how to count, what to count, operated in real, whole numbers. One, two, three, four. Who shows up?
Showing up means responding to a need not a want. It means when you experience joy that has to be shared, or disappointment that can’t be borne alone, you know who to call. When you fight with your Mom, who is the person whose house you run to? When you get your heart broken, who will sit on your couch to keep you company while you cry? Who do you call for advice? Who rescues you when you’ve bought too many groceries and can’t get them home? Who keeps in touch? Who takes you for your driving test three times without blinking? Who sends you thank you cards, birthday cards, or letters? Who do you trust implicitly? Those are the people who show up.
Showing up is not about volume. It’s not about attending every party or answering every phone call. Showing up is a shit-hits-the-fan, balls to the wall, ride-or-die attitude. Who do I want to fight alongside in the Zombie Apocalypse? To those people, my sincerest and deepest thanks. I love you, and I appreciate you. You get unrestricted access to my time, my care, my home, my respect. I’ll run down the street like lightening or fly half-way across the world for you, no questions asked.