Friday, July 30, 2010

Letters to my younger self

A bunch of blogs I follow have been blogging to a theme of "Letters to Myself".  I really enjoyed reading their letters to themselves.  So I'm going to do mine.  It's funny what you remember...and I think it strange that there are certain time of my life that I can't remember...maybe I blocked them out?

Anyways, here goes:

Dear Kindergarten Elisa (1982),

Don't let Mom convince you to take the JOY bottle to school for the play kitchen.  When Mrs. Jay said we could bring bottles from home to play with, she meant that we could bring EMPTY bottles. .  Mom thought it'd be more fun to leave a little soap in it.  Needless to say, Mrs. Jay was not happy.  You were super embarassed and denied it was you who brought the JOY bottle. 

Dear First Grade Elisa (1983),

When it's Halloween and you can dress up for school, don't be embarassed that you only have a Charlie Brown mask from Winn's and not a FULL costume like the other kids.  Don't stay back and refuse to enter the "costume contest".  Listen to Casey when he tells you it's okay to just have a mask.  Quit worrying so much about what the other kids think.  You'll continue to measure yourself by what the "cool" kids think until you get to High School, and then it lessens.  I wish you'd learn earlier that the world is bigger than Anson, Texas, and that those "cool" kids" really aren't that cool.  You'll figure that out when you leave for college.

Dear Second Grade Elisa (1984),

Oh Elisa, Elisa, Elisa...such a bossy bossy girl you are becoming.  You sit right in front of Mrs. Lollar's desk.  You tattle like there is no tomorrow.  You write suck up notes to Mrs. Lollar on your worksheets.  STOP.  No one likes a brown-noser.  And those pictures of your little sisters that you tape on your desk?  Um, don't tape up the one that shows Mom's leg while she's holding Karol a little after birthing her. That one is not appropriate.  Better yet, show Mom what you plan on bringing to school for picture show and tell..  When you become a mom (and that's a waaaay longer away that you think it will be, but it will happen!) you'll know why this is not a good picture.

Dear Fifth Grade Elisa (1987)

Since you still care what the "cool" kids think, (God, I can't wait until you figure out it doesn't matter!) don't tell them you bring bean sandwiches to school for lunch.  They will think it is weird and make fun of you.  Instead, just eat the cafeteria lunch.  I know you're embarassed that it's "free", but seriously, the other kids have no way of knowing you qualify for free lunches.  Plus, when you're older, you'll be paying so much in taxes that it will totally cover those "free" lunches.

Dear Seventh Grade Elisa (1989)

Please get fully dressed for PE.  You look ridiculous only changing into shorts, while still wearing your button down shirt.  I know you are embarassed by the lack of breast growth and the fact you don't wear a bra yet, but do you really want to get your good clothes sweaty and stink all day?  For your information, those boobs never quite come in the size you wanted.  And once again, when you have a baby (which is still a long way away), you will lose all modesty.  I know all the other girls do it, but stop following the herd!

Oh, and that guy you think is so cute?  He's a loser, so please please please,  use some real substantial criteria to judge the character of people.  It will save you so much heartache in the future.  Looks are not even in the top five.

Dear Freshman Elisa (1991)

Don't date Tony.  Listen to Mom and Dad.  He's a bum. He'll always be a bum.  Thank goodness you have a Dad who will threaten him.

Good Job in cross country and track, but you can do better.

Dear Senior Elisa (1994)

Your friends are more important than boys. 
This is a lesson you will learn many times over until it finally sinks in. 

Also, I know it's hard to fit in right now, but trust me, it will all work out in the end.  I know it's hard, but once you leave for college, you'll see that life extends beyond the city limits of Anson, Texas.

And as for choosing ACU, I kind of want to tell to go to a Big 12 school to live out the hype of college. But if you do that, then you won't meet your future husband.  And make one of your closest friends.  And re-evaluate your relationship with God.  So yeah, go to ACU.  But you'll figure out later in life you are being led there for reasons other than runnning.

Dear ACU Elisa (1995-1998)

Don't feel so bad for quitting cross country and track.  You should enjoy it, not hate it or tolerate it.  And really, it's not the reason you are at ACU.

That guy Jerome introduced you to at Chapel?  You're gonna marry him and have at least one child with him. (HOLD UP, don't get all excited and start squealing!).  It's still a l-o-n-g way off and you have some relationship learning to do and you will learn a lot about yourself until you are ready to be his wife.  And honestly, he's not ready to be the husband you want.  Patience, little grasshopper, and you shall have your reward. 

Do more with GATA.  You'll wish you did later in life.

Take advantage of the fact that your professors are so accessible.  This is not the norm.

Go to Chapel as often as you can.  You will remember it fondly, and miss it terribly when you are gone.  Same goes for Sunday Night Devo.

Also, when it comes to work, don't sell yourself short.  Know what you are worth and demand it.  This also goes for relationships.  You won't have faith in yourself at first, but trust me, you will be a better person for knowing your value.

Also, (and this is a painful lesson), but people are not as honest as you think they are. Some are in it all for themselves.  Some people will say whatever it is you want to hear to get you to do the things they want.  Don't be so quick to trust people and what they say. 

And keep your options for jobs after college open.  Don't buy into that whole "as long as I'm happy, I don't care how little money it is."  It's crap.  That ties into the whole "know your worth and demand it" thing.

Dear Recently Graduated from ACU Elisa, (1999)

Guess what?  Just because you have a college degree does not mean you are entitled to anything.  I know this will come as a shock, but it's about to hit you hard in the face.  HARD.

That job you took right out of college? Um, yeah it was fun, but good for you for standing up for your beliefs and morals and leaving it on your terms.  People will make up lies about you and threaten you, but you did the right thing.  And no one can ever take away your good character if you live a Christian life.

And that baseball player guy?  Oh Elisa......  I know you "think" you love him, but you have no idea what real love is right now.  You're about to head into a LONG 7 years with him.  You will learn A LOT, but you will have lots of heartache.  Again, don't abandon your family/friends/those who really love you.  You're gonna move to St. Louis when you have NO BUSINESS moving there, but you will make some good friends and learn SO much about yourself and relationships.  And hockey.  Oh my word, you're gonna LOVE playing inline hockey.  At least that's one good thing the boy imprinted on you.

Dear Age 23-29 Elisa (1999-2005)

I am so sorry to tell you that you are pretty much wasting away your twenties.  You will never get these years back.  You deserve so so so much more than you are getting right now. The silver lining in all this is that you are reaping so much knowledge about your inner self that will prepare you for bigger and better things.  And you took a job as a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines. This will prove to be one of the THE smartest decisions you'll have made in this time frame.  Be sure and thank your parents for loyally being there for you in all ways possible during this time of finding yourself.

You know you need to leave him, but you are scared.  Totally understandable. That last minute gut feeling of not wanting to buy the house with him? LISTEN TO IT. Don't let him or the realtor play on your emotions and fear. Also LISTEN to the people how love you most when they tell you it's all wrong.  They are only looking out for your best interest.Have faith that things will get better, because you have NO idea how awesome things will be in just a few short years. 

Once you do leave, it will be one of the scariest and hardest things you will ever do.  And in a year or so, you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. And when you do leave, don't be so nice about it.  Don't feel sorry for him and leave him things that you bought with YOUR money.  Take it!  You'll wish you had later! 
Go home to Texas more often.  You will come to regret missing most of your sisters atheletic endeavors.

Work/Fly as much as you can.  Because you won't have the time or desire to do it as much when you are married with a child.

Smart move on the 401K and ESPP.  Your future husband will be very proud and grateful.

Dear 30 year old Elisa (2006)

Nice birthday, huh?  It will be one of the best birthday's ever to date.

And good for you for joining the gym and hiring Chad as a personal trainer.  He will not only change your body, but your life!  This will be some of the best money you have ever spent!

Remember how good it feels to workout and be healthy.  You will need this when you get pregnant in a few years.

You have really turned your life around.  You have great friends, a great job, dating is FUN, and life is great!  See, I told you things would improve!  The best part?  They are STILL going to get even better.  You have no idea.

You will start to date your future husband in a few months.  Enjoy dating.  And try to remember all the giddiness of a new relationship.  You will want to refer back to it once you're married and tired from baby-filled sleepless nights and all you want to do is sleep.

Dear Engaged Elisa (2007)

Don't sweat it.  In the end, all that matters is that you are married.  No one will care if you served dinner on plastic plates or real china, or any of those other trivial things you think are so important now. 

Take a honeymoon.  I know you agree with Lewis and want to save money, but do it.  Who knows when your next indulgent vacation will be, if ever? 

Register for things youa actully NEED.  Don't put things on the registry just because they are cool.

Dear Pregnant Elisa (2008)

All your friends who have kids tell you to sleep now while you can.  LISTEN to them.  Don't feel guilty for doing nothing around the house.

Don't stress so much.  Enjoy being pregnant while you are still not showing.  Don't wish for a bump so soon.  Because with the bump, comes the weight...and bigger clothes... joint pain....oh the horrible joint pain.  Accept it, because it is here for a while.  Even after the baby arrives.

EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE while pregnant.  You will wholly regret that you didn't exercise as much as you could have.

When you register for baby items, take someone with you who know that they hell they are talking about and can tell you what you need and what you don't.  Don't go by yourself because even though you THINK you know what you need, you don't. much as you can.

Dear New Mama Elisa, (2009)

It's okay to stop breastfeeding.  No one is lurking in the wings ready to rip your baby out of your arms just because he is formula fed.  And jaundice?  Totally normal.  You will only make one "freak-out" visit to the pediatrician in the first year of your child's life.  Congrats!

You have no modesty anymore.  More people have seen your hoo-ha than you ever imagined.  You also got your first stiches ever.  But not exactly where you thought they'd be.

It's okay to cry.  Because you will be doing A LOT of it.  Go ahead, cry.

You will sweat like you are going through menopause at night.  Damn hormones.  It lasts until about 3 months postpartum.

Your mom is a LIFESAVER those first two weeks.  She gets up with you for every night feeding.  Which for the first three weeks, is breastfeeding.  She can't help you with it, but it sure is nice to just have someone up with you to listen and keep you company.  You will also laugh with her at 3am some nights just because you are both so tired.  Rememer the time when ya'll tried to put Britton in the blue sleep gown!?!

You will want your newborn's parents to come pick him up because you think that you just can't do this parent thing.  Guess what?  YOU are the parent and this kid is here to stay.  Good thing though, since you will end up loving this kid to bits and pieces!

Have faith in yourself.  This child did not come with a handbook but you are a smart person.  The decisions you make on a daily basis are not life and death, even though it seems like it.  If the baby only eats 4 oz instead of 6oz, he will live. 

You think you will never have a clean house again.  Or cook a proper dinner again.  Or leave the house again.  Or have time to shower and get dressed.  BUT YOU WILL.  And you will laugh at yourself for ever even thinking that you wouldn't.

You are SO grateful for the people who call,text and email.  It means SO much to you and you swear you will do the same when someone you care about gives birth.

Good job on establishing a routine early.  It will pay HUGE dividends as he gets older.  I know right now you are living life in 3 hour increments, but it will get better.  You have a very good baby and soon, you will forget the sleep depravation and even consider doing it all over again.

Dear Most Recent Elisa, (2010)

Wow, how far you have come as a mother. 

You have a great kid.  No longer a baby, but a running, babbling, active toddler.  He favors both you and Lewis and is so smart!

You still have baby weight to lose, but at least you are doing somrthing about it.  You swear you will exercise more next time you are pregnant.

You and Lewis are even thinking about BB 2.0 

You are back at work and still love flying.

The house is slowly coming together.  You even have cabinets!

You finally have a 4 door car.

Life is so good.

Enjoy it.  Enjoy your family.  Days pass so quickly. 


mamakrystal said...

I love you Elisa. From the first moment I met you, we clicked. And even though we don't see each other, or talk to each other everyday we talk randomly via internet or thru g-chat - I still feel connected to you. You are one amazing and incredible woman and have come so far in life. You have so much more to achieve and live...I'm really proud to be your friend. Miss you, and hope to see you soon. ;-)

suzanngriffin said...

I'm sitting at the breakfast table, riveted by this. Tears in my eyes but trying to hide them so my hubby won't wonder what in the heck I'm crying about so early! You are an amazing person!

Becky said...

I cried reading your letters to yourself. I feel we have so much in common after finding out more about you. Don't you wish you could have read these 10 years
You're a great woman!

CB said...

Love, Love, Love this post!! I think I would have wept writing each one. Don't we all wish we could go back and hold on to and protect our younger selves, shelter them, but it was our naivity and wrong choices that make us most of who we are, don't you think? So we have to love those things that once embarrassed us and made us feel ashamed and impulsive whims that led us to end up where we are. And hopefully to where we are we will see the beauty in how God has lead us to be who we are, because we have been where we have been and done what we have done. It would be really hard for me to do a post like this. I can easily express empathy for others in my writing,or even humor, but to reveal things that are my feelings of my own vulnerabilities is hard for me. I think you will love that you wrote this in years to come. Thanks for letting us "in". Hope you are booking these!! Very inspiring!