Everyone is Beautiful.
by Katherine Center
Every great love story needs a great obstacle.
Like in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, for example. Here are these two young people who are completely attracted to each other—except that one of them is a vampire and wants to eat the other.
You can’t buy a better obstacle than that.
But obstacles are hard to come by. Most of the good ones have been taken. I think about that a lot.
And I was thinking about it around the time I started my second novel. I can’t tell you exactly when the revelation hit me—though it might have been the time my daughter stood up on her dinner chair and said, “Daddy! Don’t talk to Mama! Talk to me!”
But somewhere I got it: Little children are a perfect obstacle to love. They want your attention and demand your time. They interrupt your conversations. They don’t like you to talk on the phone. They wake you up in the night and leave you shuffling through the days like a zombie.
What I love to write about is family life. The way we all try to hold onto and take care of each other. The way we all need and resist each other. My books are not about aliens or explosions. They’re just about the little things. The comedy and the heartbreak of getting through the day.
And so I decided to set myself this challenge: To write about what happens after happily ever after. To write a love story about married people with three boys under four. And to let the kids be—as they are in true life—a real obstacle to love.
I don’t mean to insult kids. Kids are the best. I have two of them, myself—and they are so adorable and scrumptious I just want to eat them up. They crack me up every day, give me kisses, make potions in the backyard, love me in ways I never even hoped to be loved. And I love them back. Like crazy. Like I didn’t even know the meaning of the word before I met them.
That’s got to be a good thing, right? Having kids redefines love. It changes you, it challenges you, and you are never the same.
And especially early on with kids, romantic love can’t really compare. Or even if it could, you’re just too damn tired.
But there comes a moment—maybe you open up an old photo album, or find some old letters, or get friended on Facebook by your 10th grade boyfriend—when something sparks a memory of who you used to be back when the only person you had to take care of was yourself.
You wouldn’t want to be that person again for anything. But you miss her all the same. You miss the person you used to be when you were just you. Even though the person you are now is so much more than that.
Everyone Is Beautiful is a love letter to love, and to marriage, and to the way that you can find much more along the way than you lose.
But it’s also a love letter to those girls we used to be. And to how we hold on to them—in whatever small ways we can—long after we have left them behind.