Sometimes when I’m procrastinating, I flip around on Facebook or twitter and I see a lot of people answering the same question. One that recently struck me was “what would you tell the 16 year old you?” A lot of people said things like, “you weren’t fat” or “you’re never going to need to know the periodic table of elements” but I was stumped. Because really…the only thing the sixteen year old me would have wanted to know is if the thirty one year old me is happy. And there just isn’t a good way to answer that.
The other day I came across this picture of Mike and me. It was taken three days after we’d found out I was pregnant with Madeline. We hadn’t told anyone yet.
I remember how I felt – so excited and hopeful. It didn’t occur to me to be apprehensive, because I had no idea that just a few weeks after this picture was taken, everything would change – and not the way we were anticipating.
Of course I am happy – I have my husband and my younger daughter, and a lot of other wonderful things. But I am also wracked with terrible sadness and emptiness that will never go away. It’s a loaded mix of emotions that grieving parents have to carry with them every day.
The younger version of me had a master plan that I fully expected to go perfectly. I was determined to live up to the Most Likely to Succeed superlative that had been laid on me Senior year. Right out of high school I learned the lesson that being a control freak wasn’t going to be enough to keep things on course. At the same time, I never expected things would go so very wrong. But does anyone?
So, what would I say to the 16 year old me? Would I tell myself that I was going to suffer from the worst loss imaginable so I could be prepared? Or should I let myself continue to think everything was going to go my way? I honestly don’t know.
If you could go back and warn your younger self of impending doom, would you do it?