The beautiful Ashley of Little Miss Momma wrote this beautiful letter to her 16 year old self and challenged us to do the same. Here’s what I’d say.
Hey girl, it’s me…er…I mean you. We’re 15-ish years older than you are when you read this. At this point in your life you’ve been a wife and mom for nearly a decade. For the record, you don’t grow up to be an old fuddy-duddy. You’re still cool and cute. You’ve never grown your hair back out. Oh, and you’ll still get carded at 31….and it will make you smile!
You have ended up with a pretty good life, don’t discount where you arrive and how you get there. You will struggle and you will cry and pray and ask why. You will second guess and fret and stress. But you will come out on the other side, a much better person. A person who can stand up for herself. A person who likes who she is and doesn’t have to try to be someone else.
If I could build a time machine (out of a Delorean), this is what I would love for you to know:
Your parents love you so much. They know what you’re doing is going to ruin you. They’re not being mean. Please listen to them. And hug them. And talk to them about school. Ask them about money. Talk to them about boys.
Enjoy this time with Ree now, for in a few year’s time, she will leave home and it will cause so much strife between you two. It will take years to repair and will never truly be the same connection you have right now.
You are ‘friends’ with a lot of different people yet you don’t really fit in anywhere and that’s going to lead to trouble. People like you but you move from group to group, waiting for acceptance. But don’t worry, these aren’t the friends you will keep. You won’t really talk to any of these people after you leave Wood. Not until Facebook, at least for a small handful. (By the way, you’ll be amazed at how technology will change your life.) You will make your best and closest friends in your adult life.
You have had a name change (due to being adopted by mom’s new hubby) and it turns out to be a great decision! You get a second chance at the father-daughter relationship. It will blossom over time and you will never doubt his love for you. But you will now have a mexican last name and you couldn’t look like more of a white girl. You try too hard to fit somewhere…just stop trying and you might slide in the right spot.
A couple more pieces of advice:
It’s cool to be smart (don’t try to hide that about yourself).
But you don’t know everything.
It’s not cool to smoke, anything.
Be careful when boys show a little interest in you.
Even though good grades come easy for you, try to pay more attention and take it a little more seriously.
When the preppy, school spirit filled girls want to be your friends, don’t diss them.
When Mom is hosting a MaryKay party, don’t tell the woman who just got a makeover that her eyes are still dark underneath.
Don’t hang out with the stoners and losers, they aren’t doing anything for you.
Leave him. Walk away and don’t look back. Do not sit in your car with him. Do not go to the lake with him.
Keep your mouth shut.
Try something new. Join a club. Tryout for a dance class. Get involved in something.
Give those quiet and shy boys a shot.
When Daddy wants to restore an old car with you, for the love of everything good, don’t turn him down. It will end up being what you regret most in your life.
Join the kids who pray in a circle in front of the school each morning. Don’t snicker at them in your mind. You really have no idea how close you will be to God in a few years.
Oh, good job for sticking with Architecture for all 4 years of high school. But hey, tell Mr. Turini to teach you CAD. Just because you’re a girl, doesn’t mean you don’t get to learn too. Make that a priority.
Lead more. Follow less.
Don’t say that to Daddy. You’ll make him cry later even though you don’t really mean it.
Since I do not have a flux capacitor, you’re going to do all these things. You’re going to have it rough through high school.
But you are going to straighten out. Senior year will be amazing. You’ll cut your hair. Short. And you’ll love it and feel free. You’ll never grow it long again.
You’ll LOVE the car Mom and Dad surprise you with!
You will have Mr. Kimsey for English and it really won’t be English class. It will be LIFE 101. It will allow you to bring forward so many fears and learn an enormous amount about yourself. You will learn about what you deserve and what you don’t want in your life. You will forgive with all your heart and really mean it. No matter what he ever did.
Don’t get disappointed before prom. You knew this new guy wasn’t really down to go. His lip ring should have warned you. But trust me, you will have fun with your sister and bestie (at the time). It will be one of your most fun memories. [Left on Mission, Right on 1st]. =)
Life will change right after graduation. You’ll get a job. You’ll meet more people who will teach you about life and love.
And even though it’s not the coolest thing to do, (selling luggage) it’s 2 doors away from your future husband. Give him a chance, and let him court you. He’ll be very good at it.
Now that I think about all this stuff, what if you/we don’t have these experiences? What if you have the picture perfect high school career? What lessons will you learn? What if we make it to a 4-year college, become an Architect and don’t have baby #1 at 21? Where would we be now? I’m not sure I enjoy thinking about that. I think you need all this. Tough as it will be and as much grief as you cause Mom and Dad, we’re in a good spot. You have everything you need. God will give you and Matt plenty of lessons and your marriage will be as strong as it’s ever been.
So just do you. Keep your head up and your eyes pointed forward. Stay true to your roots and your values. You will need them to make some hard choices.
But you will come out ahead. And you will come out with God and a beautiful family.
You are pretty cool girlfriend!
31 year old Andrea