Looking back through pictures of myself in various stages of life, I have often wished that I could speak to that young girl staring back at me. There are so many things that I wish I could let her know. Advice that I could have given her. Things I could have shielded her from.

To this infant, toddler, and young girl I wish I could go back and tell you that you had are destined for great things. Your life will start off rough. You will have things happen to you that are meant to break you, but will only bring your strength. There are times that your smile will dull, where the sparkle in eye will fade, but you will be okay. You will have heartaches, and heartbreaks. You will have moments you enjoy and moments of joy. You will be more than okay. You will make mistakes, but will learn from them.

To this girl, in her senior year, I would tell you to stop taking herself so seriously and to stop trying to be perfect all of the time. You are beautiful and smart. You are enough. Let go of the feels of inadequacy. Stop letting others opinion of you outweigh your opinion of yourself. You have worked hard to get to this point, now enjoy some of it. Make lasting memories with your friends. Never let those friendships go. College is more than just studying, and it will go by so fast. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from doing what your heart wants to do.

To this girl on her wedding day, I would say that you are one lucky girl. Today isn’t about your wedding, but your marriage. Don’t stress about the small things, but focus on the fact that you are marrying your Prince. You both are young, and have a lot of learning and growing up to do. He will make mistakes, and drive you crazy. You will be bossy and moody. Yet, the two of you will compliment each other, and make each other better versions of yourself. There will be times when you will have nothing but the love you share, and other times that you will so have more than you could ever imagine. It’s not going to be easy. You will be there for each other in sickness and health. You are made to last, but never stop working on you.

To this girl on her college graduation day, I would say that I am proud of you. Not just on this day, but everyday. You worked hard, and you did something that so few thought you could do. You learned how to be a good teacher, now forget everything you learned, and use your heart to guide you. Life is about to change for you. Don’t be afraid to take the risks. Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Stop doing so much for people, who don’t have your best interest at heart. It’s okay to not do everything. If people can’t accept you for that, and for who you are, then maybe that isn’t what you are meant for.

Oh my. To this woman on her very first day of being a mom, I would tell you this. You have prayed for years for this day. For this moment. These kids were made for you, and you for them. They will mess up, but so will you. You WILL NOT be a perfect mother. They do not exist. You will have bad days and good days. You will lose a lot of yourself, while helping them find themselves. Just don’t lose all of you.

To this woman on the day your family began to share the same last name, I know you are scared to death. You are smiling through the fear. You can do this. They are some of the most amazing children in the world, and you are already helping to make them this way. They are looking to you every single day for love and guidance. There will never be a moment that you will stop doing what is best for them. You can’t make up for their past, but you will give them the best future ever. Enjoy every game, every hug, ang every second. It goes by so quickly. However, see that guy standing there beside you. He needs you too. Take time to show him everyday that you love him. Take time for just you and him. Go on dates. Fall in love every single day with him.

To the me of today. Be you. Be silly. Be kind, and compassionate. Don’t ever let someone else dull your shine. Stop letting the thoughts of others control the you that you were destined to be. Your life may not be exactly what you thought it would be, but it’s better. Let God lead you on the journey he has intended for you. Love yourself better. Stop letting your worries take away your dreams. Feel confident in knowing that your dreams will change, but they are your dreams, and nobody should be able to tell you what your dreams are.

You can’t go back and tell the past you all that you want to say, so do a better job of telling the you of today what you want them to know for the future.

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