The other night my brother was over and asked me what was the number one thing I wanted to teach O as a parent. This struck a nerve as it was the same question I had been asking myself since I got pregnant. While I struggle to find the exact words, the basic idea of what I want O to know is that he is the person he is supposed to be. His little personality traits and unusual interests are what make him who he is, and that deserves to be celebrated. I want him to know he is loved beyond measure and has the freedom to explore who he is and embrace it. He was longed for, prayed for, and dreamed about long before he was born, and he's the exact person he's supposed to be. I want him to fly his flag, be proud of who he is and know that his family supports him.
Not to be cheesy, but I often think of the line, "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger."
If I had one wish, I would love to mail a letter to my younger self imparting my 31 years of wisdom (I'm sure those of you who are older are rolling your eyes, but this is what I know now). I imagine myself reading the letter and letting some of that growing up anxiety fall away... or else I throw the letter away, because I'm 17 and know everything there is to know about life.
Here is my letter:
He's out there. You will find him, and when you do it will be perfect. I want to start the letter this way because I know it's important to you. I know you spend time wondering if you will meet him and if you will have a family. I want to ensure you that you will and it will be better than you could ever imagine. I don't want to give too much away because I want you to be surprised, but if I can take away this major anxiety in your life, I know you will be able to enjoy it more. Instead of focusing on the end result (will I get into college, will I like it, will I graduate, where will I live, and where is he), I give you permission to enjoy the ride.
Your life will not be exactly what you think it will be, but it is perfect anyway. Don't set any strict goals of specifically what you will or won't do because life gets in the way, and sometimes you do the thing you said you wouldn't. Do not look at that as failure. That is life, and life evolves beautifully.
Give thanks for the talents you were given. You did nothing to deserve them. They were a gift, and you should live your life in constant gratitude. You have amazing strengths and they will help you. At one point in high school you are sitting in a class with Jessica Bagby, and you express frustration over wanting to spend all your time in the darkroom and not studying things you don't think you'll need. Guess what? You won't need them. I want to give you the freedom to explore your talent and push it. That passion will never go away, but I can assure you that you don't use fractals.
Pray. It brings peace. Have faith things will work out the way they should. You will get through it.
The breakups are hard. They almost kill you, but you will live. You will come out of it a better and stronger person. You cannot rely on someone else to make you happy, even though I know that feels easy. I want to tell you something and I want you to hear me. You will hear the phrase, "when you know you know." If you have to ask yourself, "do I know," then you don't. Do you understand?
Your parents love you beyond measure. They wanted you and thought abut you before you were born. You will not fully understand that until you become a parent yourself, but please take my word for it. They have your best interests in mind. They are smart. They are your advocates. They know you. THEY WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY.
Please wear makeup. I know going out in crap clothes and no makeup feels kind of cool and rebellious, but don't do it. It takes you 31 years to learn that lesson, but please learn it sooner. When you get up, get dressed and put on make up. You feel better (your mom has been telling you that for years, so I know it's not new information). These are hard years, and you will want to feel like you look good. Also, buy clothes that fit. You're never going to lose that last five pounds.
Take care of your body. You don't get a new one.
You are smart. You know things. You will rarely be the smartest person in the room, AND IT'S FINE. Life is not a contest to see who is the smartest. You have things you know. You have things you can offer. You can learn from others. You are relevant.
Read. It will transport you. Books will be there for you when you need someone. Allow yourself to get wrapped up in the story. Stay up late to finish. Befriend the characters. They will help you. If you are having a hard time find a book.
Have a second glass, but ask yourself if you really need a third.
Love yourself, because one day you will find someone who loves you more than anything in the world.
Enjoy the wine, love your friends, embrace your family, stay out late, listen to the music, watch the sun rise, follow the light, take it all in, because once it's gone you will never be young again.
I would like to end with a quote that's given me so much peace, and I'd like you to know it earlier.
"Everything will be all right in the end, and if it's not all right, it's not the end."
You are loved,
The Older Blayne