A Letter to My Future Self…

Dear 60-year-old Aris,

Hey Lady. 🙂 MAN. I sure put off writing this letter for a VERY long time. (Remember when I came up with the idea to write this letter on our 30th birthday???) But, come on… I was 8 months pregnant at the time. Just the thought of what I wanted to do hadn’t even been fully realized yet. Cause ‘Girlie’ hadn’t been born.

Man-oh-man…

I have SO much more to write now.

I want you to know how much I am appreciating what is left of my youth. I appreciate the long, brown hair (with the occasional glimmer of silvery-white) and the few laugh lines around my eyes and mouth – which are just noticeable enough to REALLY dig in and create a rigorous, nighttime, skin care routine. Just so you know, whatever the outcome… I really did try. Even now, as you look in the mirror, if you are thinking: “30-old-Aris could have tried harder.” I’m telling you… with as much sleep as I HAVEN’T had, and the number of days I’ve even forgotten to put deodorant on… you just be thankful for what you’ve got. 😉

I hope you still find time to do things I enjoy. Please, please, please tell me we have actually scrapbooked life, and not left the photos on the computer or in envelopes… just waiting to be forgotten. Please tell me you’ve visited ALL 50 of the United States of America. Please tell me you’ve gone back to Germany and Japan… showed the Girlie (and, hopefully, whoever else comes along) where you lived. And that you got to share stories from those years abroad. Please tell me you’ve visited new places, like the rest of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Please tell me you’ve actually done a Star Trek convention… IN COSTUME. 😉 And speaking of Star Trek, PLEASE tell me you and Girlie watched EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE.

I really hope you were able to have a second child, and that the pregnancy was MUCH better than Girlie’s. (And the labor too, though… I’m sure you don’t need my help remembering every single detail of both of the labors. 🙂 ) I hope Girlie’s early years were filled with tea parties, flying kites, picnics, books, crafts, coloring books, make-believe, and family movie-nights and game-nights. I hope there were TONS of family vacations. (REALLY hoping that  Disney World trip works out.) When she got older, I hope you talked for hours about anything and everything. I hope you spent nights waiting up for her to come home, and that she ALWAYS got home safely. ( I also really hope Girlie is better than I was at making it home BEFORE curfew… for YOUR sake. 🙂 ) Perhaps you should blame a few of those wrinkles and white hairs on HER. 🙂

And how’s your most ‘Darling Husband’?? You guys just celebrated 37 years of marriage!! Congrats! I’m sure some of those years passed quickly and some felt a lot longer. But way to go! Did you keep up the date nights? The daily devotionals? The prayer time at the end of the day? Do you still write him little notes? Are you the older couple in church that young married couples can look up to?

Well, I am sure you are both doing fine. Hopefully enjoying the “Empty Nest”. 🙂

But I really wanted to remind you of how life was for you… back in those early days. Basically, what our life looks like right now…

Girlie just woke up from her nap…. and we are playing ‘peek-a-boo’ around the computer. She’s grinning, the two bottom teeth showing, and laughing. Charlie, Lady, and Scarlet are all in the living room with us… (Remember how GOOD those dogs were?!) Lady has the cone of shame around her neck for a mystery injury that left a gaping hole in her right side. (Always SOMETHING with that dog.) Lyla is on the cat tower and Cody is on a chair cushion in the dining room. The house is decorated with hearts and love for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. ‘Dearest Friend’ came by today, brought lunch, and reminded me why we’ve been friends for so long. (Oh, we are in the middle of planning an epic trip to Florida, which I am SURE you will remember- and you’re welcome for the awesome memories… in advance. 😉 )

But here is what I REALLY want to tell you, 60-year-old-Aris. I want to remind you, as your ’empty’ nest heart aches for the days I am living now…. how much you were ‘present’ in each moment. It wasn’t always perfect. There were groceries to buy, mountains of laundry to wash/dry/fold/put away, toilets to scrub, boogers to wipe, diapers to change, food to cook, floors to vacuum (REMEMBER the FUR from those 5 pets?!?!)…. and the list goes on. But I am trying my best, to honor YOU, 60-year-old Aris… by singing silly, made-up songs, about EVERYTHING (seriously, Girlie is going to think she lives IN a Disney movie!)…. holding Girlie just a little longer once she FINALLY falls asleep…. absorbing every glorious moment of nursing that sweet girl, even if it is the third time she has woken up that night….splashing and squealing during bathtime…. relishing the moment when I walk into Girlie’s room in the morning, and she is standing in her crib, grinning….enjoying each milestone met, and creating memorable moments in the mundane…. and the list goes on.

I was, and continue to be, vigilant against ‘wishing away’ any difficult part (of the current stage) Girlie is in. I really appreciate ‘now’.

So, just in case you are ever looking back on pictures of these days and begin to wonder if you could have appreciated them any more…. the answer is…

NO.

These next 30 years will be FULL. There will be good, bad, easy, hard, joy, laughter, sorrow, and tears… May God bless it all.

Sincerely, and with a heart full of love,

30-year-old Aris