Very thankful for the lovely Susannah, who continues to provide me with creative inspiration. Here is my own love letter. You can find Susannahs' love letter here. Or you can join in every day in the April Love if you are inspired to keep writing.
Dear Younger Me:
At not quite 18, you have no idea how fast the years are going to go. But I can tell you that one day you will be 39 years old and you will be reminded of the many times that your elders said those same words. "The older you get the faster it goes." So many cliches' and every single one of them so very true.
"You'll eat those words". And my how many of them you will eat.
You are well aware of what you have, even if you do sometimes take it for granted. All those times you think about the day you won't have to call and check in with your parents and let them know you're okay? Well, that day will never come. You will never intentionally let a day pass without checking in with your mother, by choice. And eventually she will check in with you just as often. And if she doesn't answer her phone, you will then understand the worry you put her through all those times.
Yes, there will be many many "times". You will do a lot of stupid shit. Your family will continue to support you and eventually you will stop making stupid decisions. You'll pay for it, but it will teach you valuable lessons and that first-hand experience will some day make you a responsible mother. At that point, you will understand even more.
You will never have to replace an engine in your car, nor will you ever run out of gas because your fathers' words will stick with you. Some day one of your children will say from the backseat "Mommy, Pap Pap says you need to get gas" and it will both warm your heart and make it ache at the same time.
Family. You are so lucky to have the one you do. Every one of them. Remember that, and cherish every single moment. Some day those memories will be just as sweet and welcome as the moments themselves.
Your childrens arrival will not be easy, but they are fighters just like you. And they will be the rock that holds you up when those you've looked up to from your own childhood begin their departures from this world. It will never be easy, but you have serious strength in your genes, and you understand so much more than much of the world is able to comprehend. You don't always give yourself enough credit for your strength, or your ability, or your talents but eventually you will learn how to be more gentle with yourself.
Some day you will realize that every experience, good or bad, joyful or tragic, has its' place. One prepares you for another.
Your high school sweetheart will break your heart, but he won't be the last one to do it, and even though it will hurt and you will cry a lot, you will love again. And you will hurt again. Multiple times. It's a necessity, but you won't begin to understand it until you open your heart wide enough, allowing every part of you to be vulnerable. Only when you take that love and turn it inward to yourself, only then will you understand.
Best advice? Slow down, but stand firmer. Push harder, but hold on loosely. I know, totally inconsistent, but one day you'll understand. One day much more of it will make sense and you'll want to kick your 18 year old self in the ass and say "WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING???" And your 21 year old self, and your 23 year old self and sometimes even your 36 year old self. But it all works out. Not perfectly but imperfectly, which is much better.
Your not-quite-40-year-old-self.....now go home and eat that leftover chili. You really do make it better each time.