Lately I’ve been thinking about my younger days.


See that sweet face?  (Yeah, BrightSide, too.)  How innocent, how naive…ready to go along to get along, keep the peace, calm the waters no matter what.

Well, lately I’ve been thinking about what I’d tell that 20-something me.

Dear 20-something me,

Look at how grown you are.  You graduated college, survived your first year of teaching, and started your life with BrightSide.  Independence, freedom, exciting possibilities – being an adult is looking pretty good right about now.

But.  (There’s always a but.)  You have challenges coming your way that will sweep you off your feet.  BrightSide is as steadfast as you think he is; the two of you will make it through to the other side, and you’ll be all the stronger for it.  Enjoy yourselves.  Spend less time marking things off your checklist and more time driving back roads and catching good movies. Stop worrying so much about what makes others happy and learn what pleases you. 

The struggle to start a family will make you doubt everything you think is true.  You’ll be convinced you’re being punished for past mistakes, that other women are graced with this gift and you must not be worthy of motherhood.  Fight the demons telling you you’re not good enough; you are.  It’s hard for a control freak to understand, but this is something you cannot possibly schedule.  You can no more will that pregnancy test to turn positive than you can shift the stars, so it’s a painful waste of energy to thump your chest and shout at the heavens.

Let it go.

In time you and BrightSide will become parents.  Beautiful babies will grace your home with love and laughter, and they will be beloved by your families.  They’ll grow into incredible human beings, ones who open your eyes and hearts.  At times you’ll feel inept, daunted by the task of raising children straddling two worlds, but you will do better than you ever give yourself credit for.

You are mid-stride as I write this letter.  With each step you grow stronger and wiser.  Know in your heart that this is your path, and trust it will carry you home.


your 40-something self