For the days leading up to my birthday, I wanted to do something different. Three letters. Letters addressed to myself at different points in my life. When life was different.
Today is letter one of three.
Dear Five Year Old Self:
You are so full of life. You spend your days running and playing and learning. You’ve got such a passion for learning and I’m happy you’ve learned to love it early on. Hang onto that. Even when it’s hard, education is the one thing that no one can take from you. I know you’re too young to understand that, but just know you’re always going to have a passion for learning.
Thank you for being fearless. For climbing those trees. For jumping around without a care. For exploring outside. Sometimes I wish I could tap into some of your fearlessness. I need it most days.
You’re so innocent. I think that’s what I miss about you the most – your innocence. You don’t yet understand that the world can be a cruel place. I wish I could experience that again. I know you dream of growing up, but you’re everything I want to be when I grow up.
I see that stubbornness in your eyes. You know what you want and you’re determined to get it. You will try to save every animal that crosses your path. You will try to pet it and be its friend. There’s a kindness to your stubborn nature. You refuse to quit, even at a young age. When you fall, you cry and then stand right back up. You never dwell on it. I wish I could tap into that too.
Stay strong little girl. You’re going to see a lot of deaths over the next few years but you’re too young to realize the impact they’ll have on your life. It’s okay when you don’t shed tears. I know you’re much too young to understand death or understand why everyone is crying. I feel it is this that helps you survive childhood. You’re a bit naive and carefree but also too young to understand.
Eat your fruits and veggies. I know you don’t like the taste but you’ll grow to love them. Your future self will thank you for it. Your future self – I wonder if you even know who that is because I know you can’t imagine growing up. You want to but it seems so far away. I promise you that you’ll grow up. In the meantime, eat your fruits and veggies everyday.
Hold onto your daddy. Listen to every word he says. I know you’re too young to understand everything that he’s trying to teach you, but listen anyways. He’s going to feel guilty for missing so much of your childhood so give him a big hug every day. Wrap your arms around his neck and tell him you love him – I know you already do these things but I feel a need to remind you. I know you’re awake at 4:30 in the morning when he comes to give you a kiss before work – it’s okay to open your eyes and let him know you’re awake. It’s these sweet moments you’re going to remember later.
Remember that your mom loves you even when it doesn’t feel like it. She’s trying the best she knows how. I know it doesn’t always seem like it but I promise you it will get better one day. You’re going to spend a lot of years fighting with her, but bottle some of that stubbornness and use it to never give up on her. Things will change…in time.
Your little brothers will turn into your best friends. You’re all growing up together and going through the same things. Those two brothers that you love to pick on will turn into wonderful adults and you’ll find yourselves leaning on each other for strength. Don’t spend so much time yelling at them and arguing with them. I know that deep down in your heart you love them just as much as they love you.
Soon, you’re going to learn that not all your friends are really your friends. They’re going to tell you that they don’t want to play with you at recess. You’re going to be hurt and you’re going to cry. I want you to know that it’s going to be okay. You’re going to survive. I know it’s going to break your heart and you will never look at those people the same way again. Please know that you’re going to make it.
You’re just so young. You shouldn’t have to face things like that just yet. But I know that it’s all going to shape you into the person you become. However, it will also be the beginning of your trust issues. Trust issues you’re still going to have in twenty years. Listen to your gut little girl. Try to trust people. I know that no one understands everything you’ve gone through and I know that you don’t yet understand either. It’s okay. I promise you’re going to make it.
I question if I should warn you about the things to come. Should I prepare you for what lies ahead? Should I tell you about what happens to your daddy? Should I tell you that you’re going to develop a strong inner spirit and that it will never be broken?
I don’t think I could warn you. I wouldn’t want to see the pain and hurt in your eyes when you realize the world isn’t a perfect place. Instead, I think I would like to see the world through your eyes once more.
Your Twenty-Five Year Old Self