Dear two-year-old me,
First off, hi. I must say, you’re quite the cute kid. I know you don’t realize it yet, but you’re gonna be an awesome person. In fact, at this point in your life, the only thing that matters to you is your parents, your dogs, chewing on your nails, Ashley (you’re best friend, and I would spoil things for you, but I’ll give you a few years to realize that not everyone stays in your life forever), and of course, that one song. And you know which one I’m talking about, the one that is sung by Leona Lewis, that talks about bleeding love? Yeah, I know how much that song means to you at this age. I know that you wake up early every morning, run downstairs, open Mommy’s old, black, Toshiba computer and type in that password that you will remember to this very day. Then you’ll click on iTunes impatiently until it opens, and you find that play button right where you left it the day before. And I am completely aware that you can’t read yet, but if you could, I would smile at that laughter that spills out of your mouth, still full of baby teeth. Your laugh was always contagious, you know. Everybody laughed when you did. Oh and you know that big bump in Mommy’s belly? In a few months, that bump will change you’re life. I love you.
Dear three-year-old me,
Hi. It’s me again. It’s good to see you again. Still biting your nails I see? Oh and Bleeding Love? Still listening, huh? How’s Ashley? Oh right, you’ve got another big part of your life now! Now this kid... your brother. He’s not that bad now, just wait though. I promise, one day, he’ll be the most annoying person on planet Earth (but I know we both secretly love him, somewhere deep down). I still remember what it felt like when you held him in your little arms in that hospital room. You couldn’t wipe that, once again, infectious smile on your lips. Mommy and Daddy were so happy, I think Mommy even cried a little bit. And then they took that picture of Grandpa that you won’t find until many years down the road, but it will be an important piece of you’re none-too-complicated puzzle. Yet, that is. It’ll get too difficult to keep up with in a little while. I love you.
Dear five-year-old me,
I know I didn’t write a letter to you last year, but I didn’t find much to write about. Not much has changed, until now that is. You’re in Kindergarten now? What?! That’s crazy! Enjoy it, I know that learning the alphabet and how to count to ten seems hard now, just wait. Eventually you won’t even have to think. It’ll be like breathing. And to this day, you will still be unable to say the ABC’s without adding in that little tune that the teacher used to teach it to you. You haven’t talked to Ashley in a while, but that’s okay. Things are all uphill from here, kid, so put on your steel armor and scream out your ferocious battle cry, ‘cause you’re getting thrown into the front lines. I love you.
Dear seven-year-old me,
I tried to warn ya, things only go uphill. Everything to the point of that first day in kindergarten is easy. Now you don’t even get to take naps (which, granted, you never did anyway, but still). You’re a good kid right now. Innocent and naive, and no matter what you think, you are. It’s crazy isn’t it? You’ve reached second grade! You met that boy you liked and will have a crush on for years to come. Ashley’s not there anymore, but that’s okay. You’ve got new friends, and I get that it’s soul-crushing to lose someone and replace them, but it happens. And it will continue to happen, I promise. I love you.
Dear 10-year-old me,
Obnoxious how much things changed. You’ve got your first boyfriend? How funny. You know, that guy, he turns out to be a real butthole. But it’s okay. Things will go up and down from here on out. Up in difficulty, and down in happiness. But then you’ll go up again in pride, and then down again in disappointment. Welcome to the real world, kiddo. I love you.
Dear 12-year-old me,
Sixth grade, hon. Your last year in elementary school. I know it seems like you can’t wait to leave, but middle school isn’t much better. Grades become more important, homework gets harder, and while you may like math right now? Good grief. Give it a few months, seventh grade math is a real wake-up call… in the sense that you don’t like math, that is. Keep fighting, little soldier. I love you.
Dear 14-year-old me
Wow. Middle school flew by didn’t it? I tried to tell ya. But hey, you’ve stayed strong haven’t you? You’ve kept going when the going got tough, and I can’t explain how amazing it is that you’ve learned attention isn’t always the best thing. You’ll grow less and less likely to enjoy it as time moves on. High school is mean isn’t it? Lots of people, especially those cute boys. You’ve lost friends you thought you’d have at least for a few years, when in reality, they came and went within a few months. Funny, huh? It’s okay to laugh. I laugh at myself all the time, too. I love you.
Dear 16-year-old me,
Holy moly! Boys, driver’s license, drama, homework, oh my! The list goes on, and on, and on… I see you’re into volleyball now? That’s cool. And you’re still singing? You’ll never stop loving it (spoiler alert). I’m not there yet, but up until the day you die, you’ll be singing you’re not-so-little-anymore heart out. Well guess what? Singing wrong notes is fine, so keep belting for the world to hear it. I love you.
Dear 18-year-old me,
You’ve escaped! Just kidding, now you have college. You got that scholarship you wanted! And will you look at that… Valedictorian? You always used to dream of that, but never actually believed you’d make it. Goes to show that miracles are possible. I love you.
Dear 21-year-old me,
You can drink, gamble, and do what you want without parent permission! YOU’RE UNSTOPPABLE! Ha, just kidding. Enjoy your summer/seasonal breaks college girl, it’s only for a few more years. Then you have to save up vacation days at work. You still haven’t really decided what you want to do? You keep going back and forth between singing, volleyball, law, and medical! Just do eenie meenie minie mo! No, I’m totally kidding. Don’t do that. Put some thought into it, it’ll be fine. I love you.
Dear 25-year-old me,
Is that a ring I see? A PREGNANT BELLY? Well, you were never one to take things slow, were you? I’m joking, you took your time with him, and I’m glad. He’s a great husband, and he’ll be an even better father. But, I guess, with ups comes downs, right? Dad’s sick… The cancer got to him, a lung tumor. Do me a favor, go see him a lot, please? I love you, and so does he.
Dear 30-year-old me,
I love how strong you are. You lost dad, your brother’s off doing who-knows-what after he cut communication with the family, and your baby five years ago… He died on the operation table when he was born premature… I’m so sorry… You’re fighting with your husband a lot too, since he got into alcohol… Stay strong, I love you.
Dear 40-year-old me,
Well, you never liked it when things were dragged out. So, you’re divorced, jobless, and living with mom. Your brother died of overdose, and you’re practically alone… How are you still fighting? I guess I won’t ever figure that one out, will I? But I’m here, so I know you make it through, yeah? Time for a battle cry? Maybe a little tears mixed with this one is okay now? I love you.
Dear 50-year-old me,
How fitting? You lost two grandfathers and dad to cancer… why did it get passed on to you? It’s the same thing too. Lung cancer. Stage three right now, almost stage four. Things are tough, but you’ve been through hell, and you can make it through, I know it. I love you, so much.
Dear 70-year-old me,
You’ve beat cancer twice now. But you’re getting old. The Alzheimer's is starting to attack at a rapid rate… You’re writing what you remember down, but it’s fading… I love you.
You laughed. You sang. You played. You worked. You cried. You lost. You fought to the very end, and I can’t put into words… You’re the most amazing person this world has ever seen. You saw everyone you lost again, yeah? They’re all with you now, things are okay. You don’t have to fight anymore… Now lay down and rest… Your body and mind are weary. You’re eyes are tired from crying too, so make sure you don’t do anymore of that, deal? I don’t even need to say it anymore… You know, but I’ll say it anyway.
I love you.