I have done a couple of these posts in the past and I always enjoy doing it, but today, it feels more difficult to look back and give myself advice or even to sit in judgment of that younger self – the girl or woman of my past. She did okay with what she had to work around and the choices she made seem to have worked okay in the long run. Though she put herself through some unimaginable pain and strife, she learned and grew from those, so they were necessary to arrive here. She did okay.
I do wish I could whisper to the little girl I once was and tell HER that being the baby is not a bad thing and that her family really does love her.
I wish she knew how vital those summers in Ohio with the grandparents would be for all the days of her life. She thought she was just having fun. Truth is, she was learning what kind of person she wanted to become. She was learning the value of the kitchen. The heart of many homes is there and at her grandmother’s table she was learning how to love nurturing your family. It wasn’t about cooking a meal, it was about providing what you had to nourish your family and doing that because that was your job in the grand scheme of things. You were to provide the warmth, the fuel and the gathering spot which ties the family together. That is what dinner is or was back in the day.
For me, today, feeding my family is still something I feel compelled to do and love doing. That little girl thought she was just chatting with her grandmother and learning a few of her favorite recipes, and I use that term loosely because it was a little of this and just enough of that and stir and simmer until it’s done…no measurements and no times or temps were needed. She did learn, but she had no idea she was learning.
I might tell her to pay more attention to the lessons of summer in Ohio. I might remind her that her home in Michigan is a good place filled with people who do love her and a mom who will eventually allow her freedom in the kitchen so she can also learn to love meal preparation. That mom will give over the kitchen for some not really good meals while she learns her way around, and will offer much advice about how to make it better next time. A dad who will eat anything she hands him, including the forty-hundredth omelet she is trying so hard to perfect. That dad never suggested that she try something new because until that omelet looked like the picture and tasted delicious, she wasn’t satisfied enough to move on. Bless his heart.
She wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things in her simple life that not everyone had. She assumed the whole world lived as she did. I would tell her to step back and look more closely at her friends’ homes; they were not all as easy to live in as hers. They didn’t all have a mom and a dad living there and they weren’t all as loved as she. She had no idea.
I might even tell her to just continue to live the carefree life as long as she could because eventually we all have to grow up and be responsible. While she could, just enjoy her closet rooms, or her row of doll heads that she couldn’t bear to throw away long after the body of said doll was in tatters and had been discarded. It seemed wrong to her to throw away a head. While I now think that is really weird, it was the beginning of the woman who thinks all faces are worth seeing and saving. Good for you little girl who had no idea why, but could not throw away a face. Good for you.
Yes, I would for sure tell her to carry on and smile and laugh and remember just this one thing…you are loved, little one and valued by some very remarkable people.