A letter to my 17-year old self

This is inspired by the Brad Paisley song Letter To Me.


Hey Karo…. You probably don’t recognize me yet, but you will one day, because you’re going to be me.  You’re so full of life! I know there are times when you feel like you can’t go on another day, because some people you love don’t understand you…believe me when I say, your family will do anything they can to protect you if you just let them.  You don’t feel like it right now, but they’ve got your back. Your Dad loves you more than he can say. Trust me, in about 25 years, you will find out how much. Your Mom was your age once, and she admires you for being so strong and brave – even for your recklessness.

You see, passion doesn’t come easy to some, but you’re hungry for it, so you walk without fear of the consequences,  where some angels fear to tread. I’m not just talking about you being an EMT in the rescue squad. I know, some of the places you go in the ambulance are in the worst parts of town, but I’m not talking about patching up gunshot victims or doing CPR countless times only to learn that God takes us when He wants us, and we don’t have the means to change that….I’m talking about boys…about sneaking out at night – which your mother knows about, don’t be fooled by her unconditional love and acceptance.

I know you’ve been writing stories since you were 10 years old. I’ll tell you now – don’t stop!  People may like them or they may think what you’re writing is stupid, but it doesn’t matter… you’re going to get better.  Keep an open mind, keep using your imagination, and use that ability you have to remember every word in a conversation. You’re going to lock the important details in your mind, and one day what you write is going to help a lot of people.

You don’t know it yet, but you’ve already met three of your future life partners!  One you only knew briefly when you were in the 4th grade….I wish I could tell you his name so you could avoid him, but you have three beautiful children by him… and I wouldn’t change that for anything. The other two live within walking distance of your house. They are as opposite to each other as the night is compared to the day.   The one who people see as descent and good, because he doesn’t do drugs or get into trouble…to the outside world he’s good, but when the chips are down, when things get dicey….he’s going to leave you stranded.  It’s the “bad boy” that no one expects to amount to anything, because he gets into all kinds of mischief,  who will surprise everyone by stepping in….and without hesitation, or expectation, he will walk beside you where angels fear to tread. You’re going to reconnect at a time when you need each other the most…and he will be the one who will love you faithfully, with more loyalty and regal appreciation than anyone else can. I wish I could tell you his name…. so you could avoid two decades of heart break. But if I did, your children wouldn’t be who they are, and they are perfect.

If you get this today in 1987, its a Thursday and you’re going to school at CHHS. It’s your senior year. You’re first class of the day is Choir, with Mr. Clements, and you’re going to stay after school to practice on the flag team for the upcoming Christmas parade. You have a project in Chemistry, and your football-jock lab partner will want you and the other smart partner to do everything, but go easy on him. There’s only a minor explosion when the beaker is corked and then heated, and the rubber cork gets lodged in the ceiling. Spend some extra time with that tall, skinny boy at the bus stop every morning, and give him a smile when you see him.  You don’t know it, but he needs your smile, and he loves you and your small family more than you know. He’s going to be very important to you one day.  He’s going to move away soon…he may have already told you by now and you’re wondering if you’ll ever see him again. Trust me, you will. And he will change your world in the best way.

People who you think are your friends now…most of them won’t stick around.  You feel it in your heart though – who your real friends are. The world is going to change in so many ways… but thankfully those people won’t.  You’re going to lose your faith one day, after being hurt one too many times, but you’ll find it again.  Remember to be open minded, and don’t be afraid of your intuition. You’re going to use it in many ways.  Right now you are wondering if you should quit the rescue squad. You think you’ve done so little that your time is not worth it…you’ll quit when you have to, but you’ll remember every face of every patient… and there will be a day when you will need to use everything you’re learning now in order to help people in ways you can’t imagine, and I can’t tell you because that would be saying too much.

I’ll close this with a gentle reminder…. to keep loving.  Learn as much as you can from your Mom about Type 1 Diabetes…spend as much time as you can with your Great-Grandma N., and listen to every word that your Grandma B. says…

Love, Carolyn…. 2012.


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