We spent our weekend celebrating Jeremy's 33rd birthday! Date night, church, and dinner with our parents, followed by entertainment provided by Landon. I think he was pleased with the way he spent his birthday weekend....at least I hope he was!
Birthdays always make me feel retrospective. I don't know why. Maybe just the turning of another year, who knows. But I always feel a little nostalgic around birthdays. Jeremy has an unbelievable attitude towards life, and I know he looks back and has no regrets about what he has done or where he has been. I admire that so much in him. I wish I could be more like him in that respect. Not that I have horrible regrets, just things that I may have done differently if I had known what I know now.
But that's the beauty. I didn't know what I know now, so I did things the way I did. And all those things got me to exactly where I am today. So no, I wouldn't change a thing. But I do sometimes wish I could talk to myself from back in the day, and let her know it's all going to work out. She doesn't need to worry so much, or be so afraid.
So I was thinking. If I could write a letter to myself, at say, 10 years old, what would I tell me? I've put a lot of thought into this, and I've spent a couple weeks trying to really decide how I would articulate what I would want to say. This is what I've come up with. So, old me, in case you are caught in some weird time continuum, and you happen to be reading this, take it to heart. I mean every single word.
Before you do another thing, take another breath, go find your grandparents. Hug them. Ask them questions. Listen to their stories. Love them. The day is coming when they won't be there anymore. And you will feel, every day, like a piece of your heart has gone missing. It has. You will spend years grieving, missing, and longing for them. Don't dismiss them while they're here. Listen to the war stories for the 20th time, and then ask to hear it for the 21st. When your son is born, you will give anything for him to be able to hear those stories, first hand, but he won't be able to. Listen closely, so you can tell him yourself. Ask questions about every single nutcracker and teddy bear. They each have a special meaning. Know what it is. You don't want to have to wonder. Know that none of them are invincible, no matter how much they seem like they are. They will be here one day, and the next they'll be gone. And you will be heartbroken. And fair warning, Grandma Green will have a LOT of close calls. Be there by her side for each of them, and then thank God when she pulls through time after time. And pray that you have that trait in yourself.
You're going to spend a lot of time alone on the elementary school playground. You are NEVER going to be the "cool" kid....ever. So stop trying to be. Know that you don't need to be popular to be loved. You will have amazing friends, and they will think you are wonderful, despite your "social status". High school ends. You grow up. How popular you were, what you did on Friday nights, or what lunch table you sat at, won't matter forever. So spend your Friday nights on your parents living room floor, with your best good friends, watching movies and being silly. Don't go to the parties where they're drinking and smoking. You don't need to....and you won't be invited anyway. But instead of being sad, be grateful. You turn out just fine, "uncool" or not. And one day, you are going to be SO proud to tell your son, in total honesty, that you didn't do those things. That a cigarette never touched your lips. That drugs never crossed your radar. That it took until your sophomore year of COLLEGE to get "drunk". He'll probably think you're a loser, too. But that's ok.
You will fall in love, and everybody will tell you you're too young to be in love. And it will take him years to see you as anything more than just "Kelly". But he will. Eventually. And you'll have an amazing few months. A few months that you will hold in a special place in your heart, forever. You will learn lessons, you'll get hurt, and you'll shed a lot of tears. But you'll love. And it WILL be real. And in the very end, after all the hurt and tears, you'll be much happier with the friend than with the boyfriend. I promise.
You'll move on, and you'll love again. You'll learn what it's like to be in a "real relationship". You'll have a lot of firsts, and you'll grow up. In the end, you'll get hurt. Hurt in a way that makes you feel like there is nobody you can trust, like your world is crashing down around you, and that you'll never feel ok again. You will. But let it hurt. Let your heart feel like it's crumbling. Learn what it feels like when you wake up and you realize it's ok. You're not breaking. When you finally realize that you can breathe without him. And lean on the people that love you. When they say you're going to be ok, believe them. Trust them. They aren't lying.
You might always have days that you are just sad. For no reason, just sad. But you will always get told how happy and upbeat you are. Appreciate that, even if you don't feel that. And don't apologize for being sad on those days, or for not having a reason. You will have to work to be happy, but you can do it. You CAN be happy. Put your mind to it, and don't let the bad days set you back. Just take them and move on. But always have someone you can talk to, when everybody else thinks you're fine, but you're not. Have that person and love that person. They will be your saving grace, and they won't judge you for not being perfect, and chipper, and happy. They'll just love you. That person will change over the years, and that's ok. Just make sure you always have one. And PS, your mom will ALWAYS be one of those people. You
You will do the rebound thing, whether you want to admit it or not. You will say yes to the first boy who promises not to hurt you, because you know he won't. But you can't make the same promise. You won't be ready, and you won't want to listen to the people who tell you you aren't. It's a lesson. Don't change it, just learn from it. And hand out apologies. No matter how long after the fact. Just do it. You don't want to be "that girl".
You will find true, without exception, unconditional love where you least expect it. You will go into an evening determined not to fall into old habits, and come out with a new sense of hope. As hard as it is, let your guard down. I promise, it will be worth it. So go out, even though you're tired. Let yourself fall, even though your brain is telling you not to. And don't forget to let your mother know, as soon as you get home, that you've met your future husband. You're not wrong. You ARE drunk, and she DOES think you're nuts. But you're NOT wrong.
You will discover your true purpose in a 5 lb, 14 oz miracle. You will fall harder than you have ever fallen, in a single instant. You think you know what love is, but you have no idea. Not until you look into the most gorgeous set of brown eyes you will ever see. Not until you get lost in dimples so deep, you feel like you could drown every hurt you've ever had in them. Nothing else will matter any more. All the rest will fade away, I promise you. Your son will be the only boy who matters. Forever.
Always take the time say "Thank You" to the people who hold the door for you. They appreciate it. Smile at the stranger who looks like they need one. You will make a difference. Just be friendly. There is enough anger and nasty in the world. Be a bright spot, it's simple to do.
Love the crap out of your parents. Even when you think they are "the most unfair parents....ever". They're not. They're perfect. They are making a person you'll be proud to be someday. They're keeping you out of trouble and harms way. Don't ever question how much they love you. You won't get it until you're a mom, so don't try. Just know that one day, it'll all make perfect sense, and you'll know how amazing they really are.
You'll make friends and you'll lose friends. That's life. Don't be sad, just learn from it. You'll learn quickly who your real friends are. Hold onto them for dear life. Fight with them if you have to, but then get over it. Come back together. Lean on each other. You can't go through life without friends. Your "type" of friend will change, but you've got a special few that won't go anywhere. No matter what. Tell them you appreciate it. Every chance you get.
You're always going to worry about what people think of you, I wish I could say you get over that, but you don't. But you learn to care a little less.
You will learn that nobody knows your child better than you. Don't ever let anyone try to convince you they do. YOU are Mommy. End of story.
You will turn out ok. You will have a bruised heart, but it will be mended by a husband who loves you and a son who thinks you're perfect. You will have bad days, but you will have many more good days. You will have regrets, but they just go to prove that you have a heart. A good heart. You will get to where you want to be. You will be complete. Don't rush it. Take it all in, no matter how much it hurts. It's worth it.
Oh, and hey, smile. And have fun.