Dear 40-Year Old Self,

I've written to myself as a teenager, I think it might be good to write myself as a grown-up.  More grown-up than I am now, I guess.
Plus, it's optimistic to assume that I will have survived the next 10 years (or so).

Dear 40-year old Liz,

First of all, I cannot believe you are 40.  Not that I think it's old, but because for so long I kept thinking I was 26 until I finally realized I was 30-something and should probably keep better track of the years.

If you're 40, that means Olivia is 13 and Avery is 10, going on 13 too.  If their childhood had anything to say about the last years is that you're raising one daughter and one shadow/echo.  This is not always a bad thing.  Avery follows her big sister's lead and there's been a lot of good to follow.

She's a good eater, very polite, kind, outgoing and thoughtful.
She's also wild, smart (like too smart) and mischievous.
Avery takes on all of those qualities with pride and wants to be exactly like her big sister.  Much to her big sister's chagrin.

With the ages of your daughters, you are likely in the thick of hormones.
Heaven have mercy.
Nate has retreated to his man cave, afraid of tampon runs to Target and tears for "no good reason," waiting for the boys to come calling, putting on his best tough guy face to make them think twice before touching his baby girls.
You have asked him for the secret code to the lock on the door and he's considering letting you hide out too.
Your mother giggles because she raised (nay, survived) raising two daughters, so she knows it can be done, but still gets a little joy in watching the comedy play out on stage.

Their drama life is very real to them, try to remember how you felt when you were young.  You were once young, I promise.  Perception is reality.  Stay connected, stay open minded and make sure they know you are in their corner.  And even when they don't want you there, stay there anyway, even if it's quietly in the shadows.  Even though you're 40, you still need your mom.  They will too.

This past summer, you celebrated your 14th wedding anniversary.   Holy crap, can you even believe you made it to five?  Times have been awesome and hard, but you two have stayed strong and together and committed to giving your girls the best home and model to follow.  Mom says what she wants, Dad listens.  Dad talks too, about feelings and even can cry, and Mom loves him all the more.  Mom cooks dinner, Dad does the dishes.  Mom and Dad fight.  Mom and Dad make up.  Bad things can happen and the world does not implode on itself and you can recover.  And you sometimes still kiss in front of the girls, which grosses them out, which is why you keep doing it.

You have hopefully aged gracefully, not trying to dress like your kids, but dress your age.  I'm sure trends are circling back around, so by now, overalls and tie-dye may be popular again, but you did that on it's 2nd run when you were in junior high.  If you've participated in a fad once, you don't get to do it again.  This is why you've avoided crimping irons, Max Headroom glasses and reruns of StarTrek The Next Generation.  Let those sleeping dogs lie.

Life over the years had been hard, and wonderful and everything it was in the years before.  You've been stronger than you knew you could be and enjoyed more of the "little things" that started to slip away.  I hope that you wrote it all down so when we're old and gray we can remember it all!

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Christine AKA Girl Versus Kitchen said...

This is a wonderful idea! When I was a freshman in HS (FOREVER AGO .. half my life ago!), we were asked to write letters to ourselves as graduating seniors. While sounding so stupid then, it was amazing to unseal those letters and read them before going off to college.

I think I may have to do this. Thanks for the inspiration! You are a beautiful writer.

Liz said...

Thanks Christine! This was fun and I'm glad you liked it!

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