This morning when I was considering a blog post the idea of me as a little girl popped into my head. In my head, my little girl is always sad, and anxious, and frightened. She never wants to go home and all she wants is to be loved. I have no idea if this is how I really felt, only what I think I felt. Who knows how life has tinted my memories? Perhaps and little bluer than it actually was? Probably.
But, if I could speak to that little girl what would I say? What would I tell her? I don't want to change any of the events of my life no matter how difficult, they made me who I am today. But I would like her to know a few things...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dear Sherry -
If you're reading this then you are about 8 years old or maybe you are 12 or maybe you are 15. It doesn't really matter. At any age, you likely spend most of your time apologizing and trying to figure out how to fix what's wrong with you and your family. You think everyone else has it all figured out. You don't feel like you really fit in anywhere. You dont' fit in your own skin, don't have the right clothes, don't have enough money, aren't there at the right time....whatever.
I'm here to share a few insights...
First, you are a beautiful girl. You are smart and funny and people love to see you smile. Your presence lights up a room and people are drawn to be near you. There is nothing wrong with you. God made you perfect and in His image and Jesus loves you exactly as you are. You are a loyal friend, fiecely honest, and when you open your heart to people it's all the way. Unfortunately that makes you vulnerable and you will be hurt. Don't let this change you. It's worth the risk.
The problems that exist in your life right now, are not of your making. Your parents had very difficult lives as children and they are broken. They are doing the best they know how but unfortunately no one ever taught them so they don't know how to love you. This has nothing to do with who you are or anything that you have done or will ever do. It's really not about you little one. You are perfect.
One day, your grandmother's boyfriend will molest you and your sister. When this starts, stand up for yourself and refuse to be treated this way. Scream it, report it, tell your father and your teachers. It's okay. The man is sick and your grandmother is afraid. Don't let them stop you. Fight for your right to be a child.
One day when you are much older, your father will make these advances too - remember that it's the alcohol and try to forgive his attempt. Nothing will happen because you are strong and smart - but don't let the attempt wound your heart forever. Let it go. Forgive.
Your little sister is very cute now and will be a very beautiful woman one day. Do not compare yourself to her. You are also beautiful. The acne will clear. You will fix your teeth. Convince your heart right now that you are beautiful and deserving of love. Carry yourself with this certainty. Feel it in your heart.
Your sister will have many difficulties and make many poor choices as she grows. Know that you are not your sister's mother and are not responsible for anything that she does. Let her walk her path and you walk yours. Try to help her if you can but one day, when you have to let her go, know that it's okay. Nothing she has ever done is or was your fault. You didn't cause it, you can't cure it and you can't control it. (Don't worry, you'll learn what this means one day.)
Learn to pray like God is your friend. You don't have to pray the way the nuns and the priests say you have to pray. You can just talk to God like you're talking to your bestest friend ever. That's because He is your bestest friend ever and will never leave your side...no matter what. Talk to him. He listens. It's okay to ask for stuff too. Sometimes the answer is no but He will always answer.
One day when you are grown, a gentle and sweet man, who is a little older than you, will come along and tell you he loves you and that he'll always be there for you...believe him. When he tells you that you are beautiful, believe him. When he says he'll love you "at least until tomorrow", know that it's his way of saying forever and go with it. This man has truly been sent by God. He is meant for you.
Do not start drinking wine or beer or anything like it. No matter how much you want/need to escape. Think of it the way you will come to think of drugs. Bad news...You will experience many bad things because of drinking. Things that happen to others at first, and then to you. Don't start. It's just not worth it.
When you think that you will never have a child...don't despair. God has wonderful plans in store for you. Be patient. You won't ever regret a moment of being a mother. And don't be afraid to be a mom. Follow your heart and your husband and you will turn out wonderful children...all six of them!
On a cold and icy day in February in 1996, you father will leave you to be with Jesus. Let yourself cry. Grieve. Break down. Let others love and support you through this. You do not have to be the strong one. You do not have to carry the entire load. Your husband and your friends will be there - lean on them.
And one final thing. When you leave that cardiac care room to go home on December 13, 2006 and the urge hits you to turn around and say, "I love you" to our mother, please don't hesitate...just do it. You will regret it forever if you don't...trust me, I know.
Your grown self