Dear seven-year-old Leslie,
I wish I could be there in person. To draw you into my arms and tuck you into my lap so that I could say these things softly into your ear. To watch you turn your face to gaze back at me while I fill your mind with wonder. But since I cannot, I will write these words instead and hope, in some magical way, it floats back on the air of time and lodges somewhere in you…
1) You know that fierce spirit you have? The one that, when you say just how you feel out loud, sometimes a bit too loud, and then people look at you like you are being maybe a bit difficult? Like they have no idea where you came from? Yeah, well, keep it up. This is an essential part of who you become. Your feelings really do matter. A lot.
2) Speaking of which, when you hear that other little voice in your head saying, “you are right!” “go ahead and do it!” “someday you might really make a difference to someone!” Trust it.
3) When you are fourteen you will take a photography class in high school. The first time you see the images that emerge from the chemical bath you will be stunned and excited by the feeling of pride you experience. Even though noone around you notices that they are good, they are. Mostly because of the way they make you feel. Do not, I repeat, do NOT put that camera down (also see number 2 above). It will change your life one day.
4) You know how you think green eyes are the coolest? You will find this hard to believe, but when you are sixteen, your blue eyes will turn to green and you will think…now THAT is some kind of odd luck-filled magic.
5) Study really hard. Yes, I know, all adults will tell you this but it really is true. The more you learn, the more the world will expand and open wide to you.
6) Yes, music will always make you feel completely alive and fill your spirit.
7) One day you will pack up and move to the other side of the world. You will love it. All except for the part that Christmas is in the Summer time. When you move back home, you will bring your life’s greatest treasure back with you. All bundled up and asleep in a cozy little organic cotton blanket.
8) This gift will turn out to be a boy. A boy that is way more than you could ever conjure up in your imagination. Go ahead and name him Riley. He will be so cool. He will think that you are cool, too. Cool, huh?
9) You will break some hearts, dear one. It will pain you to hurt these people, you have never – and will never - like hurting people. I am sorry to say that you will have your heart broken, as well. More than once. And this hurts far worse. But I promise you, even though these will be some of the darkest hours of pain, you will one day swing your feet off the bed, stretch into the morning sunshine and know that everything is fine. And that you have grown immeasurably – yet again – from this hardship. And that you are still one strong, joy-filled foxy mama.
10) Oh, and honey? Do me a really big favor. This young dewy skin of yours? Use the damn sunscreen.
11) And, last but never least, I love you.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Dear seven-year-old Leslie,