Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dear Seventeen Year Old Me

Hey there, 17 year old me.  

I was getting the kids out of the minivan in the Target parking lot, and I suddenly thought about you. All three boys were yelling and running around.I was holding on very tightly to the arm of the two year old to keep him from jumping in front of a passing car. He then looked up at me with a big smile and asked in his little baby voice for a swing. Hubster and I held him by the arm pits and swung him. As he squealed in happiness, we looked at each other and smiled.

And then I thought of you, all those years ago. You, never even imagining that this is where you will eventually end up. Slightly overweight, driving a minivan full of boys, living in Iowa. None of those things are on your radar.

I know that you think you will have girls. I remember that little box filled with baby dresses (where did you get those from again?) and color schemes for a fairy-themed nursery and a couple of girl names all picked out. I know that your future plans for your children include tea parties and ballet lessons and picking out prom dresses.

You're not going to do any of those things. You will never shop in the pink aisle of the toy store. You will never go to a dance recital. You will paint rooms blue and red and green, but not pink or purple. Because you are going to have all boys, and they will love Legos and Ninja Turtles and Nerf Guns and all sorts of things you never even thought about. 

You will love those boys more than you can imagine.

I know that you think you are never going to drive a minivan. I remember you saying that on multiple occasions. You are sure that you will buy a stylish SUV, or a Suburban. They fit just as many people as a minivan, but don't have the same frumpy soccer mom stereotype associated with them.

You're not going to buy any SUV. You are going to have a third baby and have the idea of a minivan sound like the solution to everything. You will test drive a minivan and instantly want to buy it.

You will enjoy that minivan more that you can imagine.

I know that you think you will live by the ocean. The ocean calls to your young soul. Even now, I still here that call. You want to leave behind cold winters and dry places and live with the sand between your toes and the sound of the surf in your ears.

You're not going to live by the ocean. You are going to interview for residency at a lot of places by the ocean, but realize that none of them feel right. Then you are going to interview at a little city in Iowa. It will just feel right. It will be the best thing for you, the right thing for your family, and you will have hopes of being able to live there the rest of your life, frigid winters and lack of beaches and all.

You will love Iowa more than you can imagine.

I know that you think you'll be skinny forever. After all, you're really skinny right now. I know you don't believe that - no teenage girl believes they are skinny. But you are. You are amazingly beautiful, and sadly it will take you 15 years to realize that. But you've got great genes and you're healthy and you're active, so of course you're going to be skinny forever. After all, if you got fat, you'd rather die.

You're not going to stay skinny. You are going to have three children and gain a lot of weight with each pregnancy and not be able to loose it all. You will run and bike and diet and cry and buy bigger pants and cry some more. But you're still not super skinny any more. You'll still always want to lose the weight. That feeling never goes away. But at some point, you're going to stop and just think about your body. About how it carried three beautiful babies and how it can run 5 miles and how you let it get sleep deprived and out of shape and fed it a terrible diet of hospital cafeteria food and it still did all those amazing things. You're going to be overweight. I'll be honest - I cringe when I think too long about what size my jeans are and how I had to give away all those cute clothes you have. But still, you're going to be able to run all over the park with your loud boys and hike and do a 10K and carry that really heavy piece of furniture up the stairs with Hubster.

You are going to accept your body more than you can imagine.

I know that none of this is how you saw things going.

But you are going to be happier that you can imagine.


Your future self.

Oh, P.S. That guy that you're really good friends with right now, the one who thinks it's awesome that you read British novels and compete in the science club and get good grades? Give him a chance. I know that you're still madly crushing on that one other guy with the really nice hair. But that would be a mistake. Because that guy that you're "just friends with" right now?

You're going to love him more that you can imagine.

12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge


  1. This is so beautiful.... I have tears in my eyes right now. I think I'm about your age, and looking back to my seventeen-year-old self, I never would have imagined that I'd be here right now. I'm a bit overweight too, after having two babies. I never understood why it was so hard for people to just lose the weight. Ouch. Now I'm here, learning how to be compassionate for people. Also, I'm a stay at home mom. WHAT??? Never in my wildest dreams would I have seen myself staying at home with my kids (after spending $150k on two degrees) in a city where I know no one while my husband pursues his doctorate. But it's where I'm at. I'm still trying to make sense of it all, and embrace each moment as it comes. I'm also married to the guy that I was "just friends" with. And it has made all the difference. :)

    (Btw, are you staying in Iowa??)

    1. It's so strange, isn't it? We make so many plans, and life just keeps happening despite our plans and things turn out just fine. Yes, being friends has made all the difference. And no, we are not staying in Iowa. We just found that out recently and are working on coming to terms with it.

  2. I love this!

    It's interesting to think of our 17-year-old selves and how we thought we had it all figured out back then. How things change!

    I'm so glad you love your life and that you are happy. You deserve it.

    1. At 17, I was convinced I had it all figured out (just like every other teenager.) It's nice to be happy, and not so much because things are perfect, but because I've worked on being content. It's amazing how that helps.

  3. LOVE this!! So fun to read and yes it is crazy how life really turns out so little to what we thought when we were teenagers. I do live by the ocean (sort of- 40 miles), and I never thought I would. I have a mommy gut that no matter what i do will never go away and most days I hate it and complain about it.. but you are right, it is worth it as it means I have the three amazing kids I do.

    1. It's taken me a while to come to terms with my mommy gut, and I still complain about mine all the time. It helps to just not look at old pictures of me. :)

  4. This post is absolutely amazing and I could relate to it SO much. I never planned on having children when I was younger, but if by some chance I did I was going to have a little girl. I have three boys. Isn't it funny how that happens? I look back at my seventeen year old self and can't help but smile at how naive I was and how I thought I knew how everything was going to turn out. Life sure has a way of surprising you, in an absolutely amazing way. I earned my stretch marks -- they were very worth getting.

    1. I have to keep reminding myself that my stretch marks were earned and worth it. I'm really not a fan of them.

  5. I love this! As I kept reading I felt as if you were describing my life in some ways. I have all boys too and live in Iowa. I never thought I would have owned a mini van as well. LOL

    1. Sometimes the minivan seems to be more of a shock to me than the all boys thing. Or the Iowa thing. I actually chose to buy the minivan. Ha!