Before moving down to Monterey this past August, my mom came over for a visit. She had been going through a big cleaning spree lately, and kept coming across notes, artwork, and little treasures from my childhood. She said she had found something special and couldn’t wait to share it with me. I could tell she was excited about what she had found, and within a few minutes of walking in the door she pulled out an envelope and said that I just had to see this note I had written.
Remember when you were younger and you’d write a note and fold it all snazzy so all you’d have to do is pull the corner and it would open? It was that kind of note. As I unfolded it, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to find. Something I passed to a friend in class maybe? No, not even close. I opened it and saw that it was addressed to “My child.” Apparently when I was 15 years old, just a sophomore in high school, I decided to write a letter to my future first child. As I read it, I was pretty amazed. There were some sweet parts as well as some things that really surprised me. I thought I would pull out a few lines to share so you can see what I mean:
This was the first sentence of the note, and it really hit home. The love I feel for Little Deer runs so deep that it’s as though I’ve felt this love for her forever. My love for her didn’t start when I was pregnant, or the day she was born. No, it’s been on-going for as long as I can remember. Seeing that I had written this so long ago really brought that to light for me. Even back then, as a teenager in high school, I already had love for my future baby. I can remember thinking about baby names and fun things like that at that age, but to read that I was already thinking about her, and that I loved her, was so neat. This came at a time when LD wasn’t sleeping well at night again and I was an exhausted mess. Reading this definitely gave me strength.
I think that this is something all moms are hoping for, and leave it to me to have already been a little anxious about it years before having a baby! Goodness. That being said though, I sure do hope I am a great mom to Little Deer and any other children we have. So far I’ve discovered that being a mom means learning on the job, and anything like that means that you’re bound to make a few mistakes. I think that’s just a part of it. Motherhood is challenging, wonderful, tiring, inspiring, and something bigger than I ever could have imagined. It’s beautiful and messy, and so very rewarding. I can’t wait to keep growing as a mother with Mr. Deer and Little Deer by my side.
In this note not only did I reminisce a bit and talk about motherhood, but I gave Little Deer some advice. I wrote that I knew that teenagers don’t always like to listen to their parents, so I wanted to write her now, as her peer. I hoped that Little Deer could learn from a few of my mistakes. I cared a lot about what people thought of me, and that frequently motivated my actions. When she is in high school, I hope she has good solid friendships with people she cares about. I hope she finds hobbies, sports, or clubs that she enjoys. I hope she’s involved in our church and youth group. I hope she is kind to those around her, especially those that are struggling. I hope she’s comfortable with herself. And I hope she remembers that high school truly is just a few years of your life. It’s important to have fun, be yourself, and not take everything too seriously.
When I got to this part of the note I was absolutely floored. It may not seem that unusual — a teenager says she wants to grow up to be a nurse and now she is. Except that back then, as far as I can remember, I didn’t want to be a nurse at all. I wanted to be a teacher. I tutored elementary school children, volunteered in a mixed-age science class, taught Spanish to a fourth grade class, was a teacher’s assistant, and was a camp counselor during the summers. In high school I basically did everything I could to be around kids and gain experience as a teacher. After starting college, I applied and was accepted into a teaching program. I was always so sure I wanted to be a teacher and had been on this path for as long as I could remember. So yes, I was pretty shocked when I read this note! Somehow, while on my path towards becoming a teacher, I guess I had thought about nursing. I can’t believe it, but at the age of 15 I was right. After my first quarter in the elementary education program, I knew it wasn’t a fit for me. My mom’s neighbor at the time was a pediatric nurse, and every time we talked she encouraged me to think about nursing. After shadowing her at work one day I knew it was for me. I switched my focus, became a certified nursing assistant to gain experience, then got accepted into nursing school. And here I am, 11 years after writing this note, now a nurse.
Sammy is our 15 year old parrot, and I’m not sure what I was worried about! This grumpy little bird isn’t showing any signs that he’s planning on leaving us anytime soon. My mom and I got him when I was just 11 years old and in the sixth grade. It’s pretty crazy to look back and see pictures of me as a girl with Sammy. I hope one day to have side by side photos of myself and Little Deer at the age of 11 holding Sam. That would be too cute. Seeing as he had a check-up a few weeks ago and is in good health, not to mention that his breed of parrot can live to their mid-thirties, I think we may just make it! Whenever I say “birdie” or “Sammy” she looks over at him. I wouldn’t be surprised if those end up being some of Little Deer’s first words! She definitely loves Sam, and though he’s not exactly a cuddly little puppy, I think they’re going to be buddies as she grows up.
And just who did I go and marry? Yup, Sheridan (AKA Mr. Deer). Again, this was another moment where I was pretty shocked reading this note. Yes, we were high school sweethearts, but this note was written years before we were dating. I had a crush on him since our freshman year, but I didn’t think that it would ever turn into anything because he didn’t seem very interested in me. All through high school though I thought about him. If we were in a class together I would try and sit near him. I woke up early to catch the school bus at a different stop so that I could grab the seat across from him. I always talked with him at track meets (and he was part of the reason I joined the track team in the first place!). Finally, my efforts paid off and we started dating our senior year of high school. It’s one thing to write that I had a crush on a boy as a 15 year old, but it’s just downright crazy that here we are, married and now a family of three.
I guess there may be some more babies on the horizon! It’s funny because I don’t remember thinking about how many children I wanted when I was that age. Growing up as an only child, I knew for sure I wanted at least two kids, but two girls and a boy is pretty specific. Mr. Deer and I are already expecting that our next baby will be a girl (when the time comes, we’re not expecting yet!). If we have a third and it’s a boy it would be too funny. I mean really though, everything else in this note came true. I became a nurse and I married Mr. Deer. I also said in the note that I hoped to be a cheerleader by my senior year, another thing that came true. We will just have to wait and see I guess!
All in all this was a very fun note to find. I’m so glad that I had thought to write something like this. I can’t wait for Little Deer to grow up and be able to read this note and know that even back then, I already loved her so very much.
Were you ever surprised by something you had written when you were younger? What advice do you think your teenage self would have for your child?