Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear 15 year old Krysten

Things are a little hectic for you right now. I get that. Your world has been kind of flipped upside down and somewhere along the way you seemed to have lost a part of yourself. I’m here…15 years later…still trying to find it. I figured it’d be best to let you in on some of the stuff I've learned so far so maybe we can meet in the middle somewhere. Sound good?

Yeah, I realize I’m old. And you don’t think 30 year olds have anything good to say but if you’ll just listen awhile you might be better off. Trust me. I know you. Better than you think I do.

That boy you love, you know, the one that breaks your heart on a regular basis, he isn’t the only boy in the world. The heart break will eventually diminish and you will never love another one the way you love him, I promise. It never hurts that bad again. You don’t have to be scared. Oh, it’ll hurt sometimes, but not like that one. But you’ve GOT to stop expecting someone to be your “everything”. It’s too much pressure. It causes disappointment all the way around. You expect too much out of people. There are people who love you at your best and people who love you at your worst but they can’t all be the same person. You need to start filling your life up now with all different kinds of people. You need to figure out that everyone in your life exists for a different purpose and sometimes it’s okay to be still. And don’t count girls out. They might not all be like Tanya, but you’re going to meet some really good ones soon that will change the way you think. Girlfriends really are amazing.

Roxy isn’t so bad. She will become your best friend. I know it’s hard to believe now, but it will happen. Just give it time. It wouldn’t hurt to let her in a little. She loves you. She’s always loved you. You would make things easier on her and make things easier on yourself if you just didn’t fight her every step of the way. She is on your side, believe it or not. She doesn’t actually want to ruin your life, even though it feels like it sometimes. Things get way better for you and way better for her and way better for you and her. Wait until you see what kind of mom she is to you when you just give her a chance. Somewhere between You and Me you end up really needing her and she’s doing a phenomenal job.  

Scott will grow up to be your pal. I know it is hard to feel responsible for him. You aren’t. It’s not your job. He grows up to be a fantastic man. A fantastic husband. A fantastic father. He turns out great. It doesn’t matter that his dad is a scumbag and he’s disappointed by his mom every other day. He takes it and makes the absolute best of it. Wait until you meet his daughters. They are perfect.

The world is never going to hand you anything. That isn’t going to change. The best advice I can give you on that one is to make things happen for yourself. Don’t stop now, you’ll thank me later. Yes, you’re cute. Yes, you can cry on cue. Yes, you can manipulate with the best of them. Those things only get you so far. The rest is going to require hard work. I know you hate hard work. I get that you’re lazy. Save lazy for Sundays. Work hard and play hard and read hard and write hard and love hard and go full force. I need you to understand that people are trying to make you different. You’ve already started to lose spark and fearlessness. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN. Seriously. It’ll be worth it, especially for me. It’d be best if you didn’t have to wait 15 years to learn this one.

FINISH STUFF. Please. I’m begging you. If you start now I promise to wear a really good night cream and keep your skin as pretty as possible!

Stop holding your breath for your mom to get better. For her to come back. She isn’t going to. At least, I don’t think so. So far…it gets worse. I’ve been trying to get in touch with 40 year old Krysten to find out, but she’s not returning my calls. She’s probably busy with teenagers and doesn’t have time to talk. I’m thinking we should probably both just let that one go. It’ll save us both a whole lot of disappointment and heartache. Remember what I said about Roxy? Yeah? Read it again!

You’re doing a fantastic job. I know people don’t always tell you that. It’s the truth. You’ve made your way through some pretty rough stuff already and you are shaping me, for better or worse. I want you to remember that. It’s alright that you’re scared but don’t let fear take everything over. Please. I found something recently and I want to share it with you. Read it. Know it. Believe it.

Fear can hold us back from anything we want to do in our lives.

It keeps us from loving, caring, committing, deciding, listening, hearing, seeing, bargaining, thinking, acting, accepting and compromising.

It keeps us from asking questions, talking to, saying no, saying yes, standing up, staying silent ~ and letting go.

So tragically often Fear’s intended purpose is lost, and instead of seeing Fear as the lesson in wait that it is, we run from it ~ ever certain that it is not there to serve us, but to swallow us whole.
~~Stacey K. Wood

You really are a pretty cool kid. Don’t let them tell you any different. Call your Grandparents more. Give your dad a break. Don’t stop writing. Let people in. Lower your expectations of other people, but raise the ones of yourself. You’ll be surprised what you are capable of. Stop being so angry all the damn time.

Neither one of us has messed anything up beyond repair but maybe if you’ll just listen to me, we can make the path a little smoother.

I love you. Thanks for being you.

See ya in 15 years…

♥ 30 year old Krysten.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Kids Went To Kindergarten!!

I sent my kids to kindergarten this week.

I know, I know, you’re thinking I only sent one kid to kindergarten. Technically I guess you’d be right, but it feels a little like I sent two.  

Logan and Talyn.

From the very beginning I referred to them as “My kids”. I started taking care of Talyn when she was just shy of six months old. Her mom, Adrianne, and I have been friends for years and while she was finishing school and starting her career at the hospital, I was the one who took care of her during the day. If you know me well, you know that I’m not a kid person. I like my own, sure, but other people’s kids…um, iffy.

But Talyn didn’t count as another person’s kid. She’s always felt a little like my own.

What does that mean? Well, it means that I cleaned the snot out of her nose and changed her butt and fed her baby food and watched her learn to walk. I listened as she learned to talk and talk…and talk. She crawled on my floor and slept in my arms and cuddled with me on the couch. I took her temperature and gave her antibiotics and read her books. She was right beside Logan, playing outside, singing five little monkeys, dancing to the ABC song. I knew her quirks and what made her happy. I put bows in her hair and got excited everyday to look in the diaper bag and see what kind of pink frill I was going to get to dress her in.   

When I asked her, “Talyn, how much do you love me?” I taught her how to stretch her arms out wide and tell me, “Thiiiissss much!”

Some days, she was exhausting. Some days, she kept me sane. Some days, she broke my heart. She’s part mine. She’s got a part of me that not many kids get. I love her. And she’s growing way. too. fast.

Kindergarten went off without a hitch. I was surprised. Surprised at Logan. Surprised at myself. Neither one of us cried and if you know me and my son you know that we’re criers.

He was so excited. He had his back pack on and his lunch pail in hand. He never seemed nervous or worried. In the morning, while he was getting ready, he told me, “If Talyn wasn’t there I might be scared but she’s there so I’ll be okay.”

Funny thing was…I felt the same way.

I sent Adrianne a text message the night before that said:

Tell Talyn to take care of Logan. She’s bigger. She has to.

I know it sounds like a lot of responsibility to put on a five year old, but if you know Talyn, you know she didn’t mind. She’s a lot like her mom that way. She loves to take care of other people. And just like her mom…she’s pretty good at it.

It’ll be interesting to watch them continue to grow up side by side. Taking different paths, making different friends. One day, they’ll figure out that boys and girls aren’t supposed to be friends and then hopefully, they’ll realize that sometimes those are the best kind of friendships. I don’t know if they’ll always be close, if they’ll always be friends, but I do know this:

Logan and I wouldn’t have made it on our first day of Kindergarten without her.

I can’t wait until the day when I get to see her dressed in a cheer uniform on the first day of school. I don’t care what her dad says, she’s cheering.

She’s part mine. I get a vote!