Dear 22 year old self,
You’re going to be okay. Know that. Know it for real and in your heart and with certainty, okay? Know it and hold it deep deep down inside of you when things start to get a little hairy. Because they will. But you’re going to be okay. If I can tell you just one thing I need you to hear this. Grab hold of it. Like with your mind, body and soul. You’re going to be okay. Okay?
The journey isn’t easy but did you think you were the one to be exempt from difficulty? Did you truly think that suffering or tears didn’t have your number? Sometimes, though it’s hard to say it, you just didn’t really think.
Sure, it’s not easy finding out you’re pregnant when that didn’t really fit the plan. And I know that having a husband who works a lot is never a ton of fun. But remember, you’re going to be okay.
When the doctor tells you that it just might be twins, breathe deep. Your words to her are fair. “Is it okay if I cry?” It’s always okay if you cry. Your words are honest and you are overwhelmed in the moment. But remember, sometimes the overwhelming is just in the moment.
I want you to remember to trust those feelings inside of you. Because you’re not a person operating on their own but one who has given their life over to Someone so much greater. Remember how he sent someone who would help you and counsel you. Trust that. So when you dream dreams of only one slice of bread popping out of the two slice toaster, don’t let people tell you that it could be wrong. Know in your very soul that God gave you that dream to calm you and assure you that there was just one baby in there. You’re going to be okay.
Remember those things that people told you about marriage? Remember how they told you it’s hard work and it’s a lot of giving and sacrifice and you didn’t really understand because you were marrying your best friend whom you loved and had so much fun with. Know that those people were right. You aren’t the exception to the rule. Your marriage isn’t the exception to the rule. You aren’t going to be the first couple to skip along happily through it with never a tear or a trial or a temptation. But know that you’re going to be okay.
Cry out those tears. Feel the hurt. Own your sin. But know that you’re going to be okay.
When you enter that blurry stage of having 3 kids under 4 years old and you feel like a ghost of yourself, know that you’re going to be okay. Know that it IS hard. That it IS work. That you’ve moved away from friends. That you don’t know who you are because all you do is mommy things and there’s more to you than that, isn’t there? Yes, there is. Just, not right now. And that’s okay.
I want you to ask for help. Because you need it. I want you to know that it’s better to ask than to feel like you’re drowning. It’s better to admit that you’re tired, that you need a break, that you can’t stay on top of it all. I don’t want you to feel awful about everything all the time. I want you to know that nobody can do everything. It takes a tribe. A village. You need help. Push aside the pride and admit it. And know that you’re going to be okay.
I know you won’t believe me but your kids are going to grow up one day. Your husband is going to be around more. You’re going to be able to go out for that run when you want to. Just not yet.
You’ll make better dinners one day but for now it’s okay that pancakes and eggs make up a good portion of your weekly diet.
These years are so much about learning and growing. They’re so much about feeling out of control and yet learning to depend on the one who is. You will learn so much about who you are and even more about who you’d rather be.
You’re going to be okay.
Because it’s true what they say. Time doesn’t slow. And one day your kids will be half grown and head out on their bikes all on their own and leave you with the silence of your house for hours on end and you’ll miss them. I know it’s hard to see but those demanding little ones who tire you endlessly day after day will one day be at their friends place for more than 24 hours and you’ll wish they were back home.
One day you’ll walk hand in hand with your best friend and you’ll have a dog in between you (I know!!) and you’ll have left the kids at home and you’ll enjoy the crisp evening and the adult conversation and you’ll reminisce about the things that your babies use to say. (Dayden tuper tape tooooo!)
And all too soon you’ll wish you could go back and read Goodnight Moon just one more time. And you’ll wish you could take back that time that you just didn’t even care who put them to bed as long as it wasn’t you. And you’ll think on the time that you spent online and wish that you had been building tracks on the floor.
Because they don’t need you to build tracks anymore and they can read all on their own. They no longer want to hold your hand in the grocery store or sit on your lap in church.
Know that these days are coming. Where you’ll have rest and quiet and exercise. And know that you’ll be okay.
36 year old you.