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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Letter To My 12 Year Old Self

Madison is growing up so fast. It's hard for me to believe that she is already twelve years old. At the same time, I feel like I have had her forever...I can't remember life without her or our boys. As I look at her, I think of how much I have been through since the time that I was 12 years old. The road is scattered with both good and bad memories..happy times mixed with the sad. The hard times, while painful, only helped to pave the way for the life that I am now living. I wish there could have been some way for me to write a letter to myself at 12 to let me know that I would one day have so much that my young heart desired at the time, even though I would lose a lot along the way. If I could write the letter now and send it back to 1980, this is what it would say:

Dear Sherri,
As you read this letter, you are on the verge of entering an exciting, yet sometimes scary, new chapter in your life. Though you still feel like a child and would like nothing more than to play dolls and ride bikes with Vicki every day, your body will soon plunge you into adulthood. I know there is a part of you that is counting the days until it happens..reading such things as "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?" Don't be discouraged when many of your friends arrive before you do. Don't rush it...just enjoy childhood while it is yours. So many things are going to change for you in the next couple of years.

Though I hesitate to cause you to carry this burden any longer than you have to, I also long to give it to you so that you can cherish what you have while it is yours to hold. Right now, you have something that you will spend the rest of you life longing for....a mother. You have two more years with Mama. You are going to lose her quickly and will lose life as you know it the moment that Daddy and Uncle Harold pick you up from school to tell you, Vicki, and Lori that your mama has cancer. Build a relationship with her the best that you the overwhelming, suffocating presence of cancer moves into your home. Ask her questions about herself...sit and talk to her...hug her...appreciate her...make a mental note of every little moment that she mothers you and store it all away. You will need those moments to feed off of for the rest of your life. No one else will ever sustain you the way that she does. This will be a defining moment in your life. You will lose so much, but will also, one day, be able to look back and see how it carved the fork in the road that God intended for you to take. Daddy will be there to show you the way and to carry you when you are tired.

Don't worry about Daddy becoming lonely. God is going to send him a wonderful woman to take care of him and love him. She will give him a son..a brother for you. Be patient as she moves into your lives and know that it is just as hard for her to carve a place for herself as it is for you to understand how she fits in. As you grow older and more mature, you will come to realize this and will thank God for the woman that she is and for what she added to your family.

You have so much to learn about boys...the boys who will one day become the men of the world in which you live. Have fun getting to know them, but don't expect too much too soon. When the first one breaks your heart, you will wonder if you can ever feel happy without can and you will! There will be others, and one day you will meet the one who was placed on earth to complete you. There will be times when you wonder if you will ever find him, but just when you quit looking, he will find you. Meanwhile, just relax and enjoy your teenage years and college experience and know that God has someone very special waiting for you. He will be everything that you have ever dreamed of and more.

I don't remember how much you are thinking of college right now, but know that in a few years, you will begin to dream of going. You will go, and you will follow it through to the fullest. It won't happen, however, when you expect it to. You are not going to understand at first why you have to go to work while all of your friends pack their cars up and head to college, but trust me when I tell you that Daddy is a very wise man for doing what he will do. In those two years, you will mature so much and will learn the value of a dollar earned. Because of that time, you will arrive at college ready to make something of yourself...not to mention that you will be driving that wonderful first car that you were able to pay for. I won't tell you what kind you will pick out...I'll leave that for you to find out. I'll just say that it will become one of your best friends!

I know that from the time you could hold a doll in your hands, you have dreamed of becoming a mother and building a family of your own. I'm only going to say that God will bless you with that family. Quit worrying that you will never get to experience what it is like to have a will, and it will be the greatest experience of your life. There will be precious moments, difficult times, and surprises along the way as God fills your home with family, but remember that He knows what is best for you. Follow where he leads and praise Him when things do not feel just right. One day you will realize that everything was falling into place even when the pieces didn't seem as if they were going to fit right!

I can't tell you what your entire life will hold. I can only say that you will reach the place you have worked to get to for as long as you can remember. Every time you played make believe house with Vicki and Lori on the blanket outside...every day filled with toy dolls and dressed up cats...every time you pretended to fall in love and live happily ever after, you were dreaming of your moment in time. You will have it!

I hope this letter gives you comfort. I wish that I could take away the parts that hurt you..that I could bring Mama back and save you from the things that will break your heart along the way. To take them away, however, would be to also take away all of the amazing things that came to be as a result of them. All I can give you is the comfort of knowing that God will work it all out to give you the moment in time that you are looking forward to even now. I want you to reach for it, but remember that none of it will mean anything without the vivid backdrop of memories that come before it. Go now and create those memories. Your moment is waiting!


Blogger Kez said...

That was beautiful!

3:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a wonderful letter!

7:01 AM  
Blogger Perri said...

That was great. It was a wonderful way to start off my day.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

You sure have a way with words woman. That was very moving.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

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9:39 PM  
Blogger FatcatPaulanne said...


9:07 AM  
Blogger jesnicole said...


6:12 PM  
Blogger carrie & troy keiser said...

The beauty of hindsight -- to see the blessings in the trials of life! Great letter, several people have done this, it is interresting to read these letters.

1:06 AM  
Blogger chandra said...

Sherri, that was a great letter. I am a little behind reading posts but this was a beautiful post to come across this morning. I can totally relate, my days as a young girl were spent dreaming of being a mama while playing with my dolls too. I also lost my mama about 3.5 years ago, so although I was older when I went through that, I do know the pain that comes with that. Again, great letter.

9:07 AM  
Blogger School for Us said...

Oh, what a beautiful, moving letter. What incredible pain and joy. I think everyone should probably write a letter to their 12 year old self. Thank you for sharing this very personal letter.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Mama Teaching 2 said...

Perfect in everyway!

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Rhonda said...

I love the letter and you have always had a way with words. I now that some where in that 12 year old girl. I remember being there every day with you and Vicki. Playing dress up or flippin contest and making homemade ribbons. We could write a book on our memories. Good Times and Bad. Family Ties

9:00 PM  

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