Sunday, December 9, 2007

a letter

so i got tagged with a meme. i'm supposed to write a letter as though i could send it back in time to myself when i was thirteen. my oldest son is thirteen...and for some reason this struck me all as kind of weird...i'm embarrassed to say i haven't even tried to remember thirteen for myself as i parent my son through i sat down and thought about it. and there was a lot i remembered...(really, as if i could forget...)

i lived with my mother and her boyfriend/common law husband. he was abusive and a drunk, but it's only as an adult that i understand how relevant his drinking was. he was frighteningly controlling, but in all fairness, there was also a lot he taught me. i was in eighth grade, which was the year my father found out my mother's husband was abusive and had me talking to a behavioral management specialist friend of his and was preparing to ask for custody of me. i was looking at moving out of my mom's house, where i was an only child and had a half brother who would visit every other weekend and into my dad's house, where i would become the oldest of four children. my mother didn't allow me to speak to my grandmother, her mother, who was the one person i think loved me consistently, if not obsessively, through this turbulence, but my dad did let me see her when i was with him on the weekends. i think i got my first "c" in eighth grade, too, so i guess i was figuring out success in academics didn't solve everything.

i cannot explain how uncomfortable it makes me feel to remember this time...only because i have my own thirteen year old living here. and no, i'm not doing a lot of the things my mother did...not because i'm so much better than her...just different. but while i know a lot of who i am was shaped by the things that happened in my life, i also know that who i am, looking back, is who i was always going to be. and i have to remember that with n...(and s...and o...and e...oi)

so my letter...would be fairly simple. it would say something like...

hi from someone who knows you very well,

i want you to know you are an amazing young woman. you don't hear this very often, but you are very smart and there are many things you are very good at. be patient with yourself and and the mistakes you make. it's okay to be open to what lies ahead...that's a good thing. things will twist and turn in ways you can't predict, so work a little on letting your need to figure stuff out and try to control go... the stuff you do to calm your mind is good...keep working on it. maybe find a physical activity you really enjoy that puts you outside more...from what i've seen, rock climbing looks good...

there is one thing i really need you to work on understanding, because it's really important....the adults in your life are good folks, but they are dealing with their own personal issues, their own personal lives. IT IS NOT are not causing their unhappiness, their anger, their failure, or their hurt. maybe they say things you could do better or point out stuff you do that upsets them, but that doesn't make you the reason their lives aren't working. you are just a young woman and they are the ones responsible for their lives, not you. don't worry about trying to cheer them up all the time, make them happy, or win their attention. you don't need them to agree with you for you to be right, either. let them be who they are and still love them for it and you find what makes you happy. (you are really good with all kinds of kids.)

oh, and take up an instrument if you get a chance...maybe that band teacher your first two years in high school would give you free lessons, if you ask...


i don't know if that young woman would understand the woman i am now. i can't decide how i would've received a letter like that... but it is a very interesting prospect...and maybe it's taken me a little further in healing that thirteen year old trapped in me.

now i should go work a little to free the thirteen year old not trapped in me. wish me luck...


**added later**

ok, i'm not doing what i need to do to free the other thirteeen year old...or maybe i am (?) i don't know.... but a wandering, wondering blogger was posting songs she wanted played at her funeral, and hoperadio was talking about viking funerals the other night, so it inspired me to look at you tube, and lo! the video i wanted of the song i want played at my funeral was there... the video quality is pretty sucky, but the audio is good enough... enjoy and peace out

1 comment:

LanaTron said...

Geez, first I read Hope's post about church, then this. Sobbing hysterically now. Well, you know me better than that, I'm not sobbing, nor am I hysterical. But I am deeply touched and once again awed by your ability to even think this stuff, much less put it into words.

Can I copy it for my kids as they become 13? And I think R probably needs to hear that, too.

I can't even begin to think what I would tell myself at age 13...