(Me and my cousin, Lynn, when I was 10 years old)
I just returned from a solo trip back to Iowa. It's where my life began. It's where my roots are planted. And it's where I reconnect with my extended family. In a word...it's home. While I was there, I looked through old pictures with my cousin, Minniette. We spent an afternoon studying the photographs and laughing at bad hair and ridiculous poses. It was a refreshing and heartwarming afternoon of giggles and beautiful memories. Some of the pictures made their way to Facebook so we could entertain friends and mortify relatives. (Sorry, Lynn).
Since I returned home, I have pondered what I would say to the girl I see in pictures from the past. Maybe it's because I am feeling older. Maybe I understand that I have sometimes taken life too seriously. Maybe I am just feeling nostalgic. Whatever the reason, I have some thoughts for the girl looking back at me in those old photos.
This is what I would say the the girl in the picture above. ..
You are 10 years old. Enjoy being 10. Don't be so restless. Life will unfold in time.
I know you wonder if you are beautiful. Believe it. You are. God doesn't make junk.
You admire your mother and you think she is amazing. You are right. Listen to her. She knows you better than you know yourself. There is absolutely nothing she will not do to protect you...even from yourself. She will believe in you even when you forget who you are and stop believing in yourself.
You won't always feel lost because your Father cannot love you the way you deserve. It will always hurt a little, but you will heal. You will persevere and grow strong. His rejection of you will make you an amazing Mother to your own children.
Your cousins are your first and best friends. They are teaching you important lessons about friendship and cooperation. They will show you that things don't always go your way and that is okay. So, play nice.
Your little brother isn't annoying. He is a little boy. And you will miss him terribly when you grow up and move away. Don't take him for granted. Tell him that he makes you proud. Most of all, roll your eyes less and say "I love you" more.
You didn't get a sister. So what?! You don't need a sister. Instead, you have a baby cousin who will feel like one when you are older. Yes, right now she is just a little munchkin who follows you around and gets under your feet. But, one day, she will be your closest confidante, next to your husband.
Yes, you want to be Cinderella. Let me assure you that your prince will come. I promise. And he is worth the wait!
You long for adventure and you dream of seeing exotic places. That will never change. Pace yourself.
You will love...and I mean LOVE...being a Mommy.
One day, that small town that insulates you will be a distance place that you will only visit a few times a year. Take in the wide open spaces and remember to enjoy the simple pleasures of living in such a secure and safe place.
Your roots are strong and rooted in family. They will help you bloom where you are planted. And you will blossom into a strong woman of faith.
You dream. A lot. Dream big. And know...God has big plans for you. You are His. And He loves you with an everlasting love.