A Letter To Myself 23 Years Ago...


A Letter To Myself on this day 23 Years Ago…

Dear Mandi,

You are about to become a Mama. I know you are scared and not sure what to do and that is ok. Yes, labor can last this long and yes, you will get sick as the hard labor starts. No, you didn’t read these important facts in any of the books you read ahead of time. Get the epidural, kick your dad out of the room so you can rest, don’t answer the hospital phone because you are busy having a baby, listen to your husband because he is about to show you what it means to be a part of a team, and buckle up, you are about to begin a beautiful, crazy ride. You are about to assist God in one of His everyday miracles and you are about to feel a supernatural kind of love that can’t be duplicated. YOU can and you WILL do this!

First things first, breastfeeding is hard and it’s ok to say that with your outside voice. You are about to have some really long nights, but they will hold moments you will treasure the rest of your life. You are about to get really good at talking to God. You will do this into the wee hours of the night now and again when your baby is a teenager, and even more when they are grown and out of the house. This will not be your first baby and yes, yes you can love another human as much as you do this one. Another supernatural experience.

You are going to meet a great group of women who are going to grow with you as a mom. They are going to share recipes with you, watch your kids so you can have a date night with your hubby, and who are going to share in the joys and tough seasons of Motherhood. You are going to take many walks to the park, go through buckets and buckets of sidewalk chalk, blow 1000’s of bubbles, and know the theme song for ‘Bear In The Big Blue House’ by heart. You will compare yourself to other mothers. You will compare your baby to other babies, try not to, it’s a waste of time. You will make elaborate birthday cakes every year for each of their birthdays for at least the first 5 years, then you will learn it’s so much easier to order them. You are going to spend entire summers at the pool, make gallons of mac n’ cheese, and watch every single cartoon, series, musical, and movie that the Disney Channel airs for the next 20 years. You will even learn to sing AND dance along with Troy and Gabriella, and you will cry as the Wildcats graduate in the 3rd movie. One day you will even go to a concert with your baby girl where Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter performs and plays two different rock stars. Your children will eat from the dog bowl. They will literally try to wash their hair with spaghetti. You will teach them to dance, to sing, to walk, and to crawl (except your oldest, she scooted instead of crawled). You will help them learn to read, write, share with others, and use their manners. You will help them when their friends are mean. You will advocate for them every single time. They will skin their knees as they learn to ride their bikes…well actually only your first daughter, cuz’ your youngest is going to scream every time you try to teach her and she truly will never want to learn…and that is ok. You will send one of them to bed without dinner because she threw a fit over chicken pot pie. No, she will never eat it again. You will plant a garden. You will be given fistfulls of dandelions every spring, this will become a very special lesson in life for you. You will own horses. You will raise goats, yes goats. You will watch your daughter walk into a show ring leading a full grown mama cow and she will be singing in her ear as she does it to keep her calm. You will mend their broken hearts. You will dry their tears. You will cultivate relationships with other parents along the way because it is simply a great parenting strategy. You will teach them to love. You will tell them about Jesus. You will teach them forgiveness. You will show them their worth. You will be in awe as you watch them learn. You will ask ‘Who’s kid is this?’ more than once, for many different reasons. Your house will be full of teenagers…often and you will LOVE IT! You will cheer for them in the stands and applaud for them when they take the stage. You will travel with them and you will make the best memories and meet the best people while you do. 

You are going to have good days, bad days, and some really really shitty days. You are not going to feel like you are enough…a lot. You are going to worry you are too much. You are going to overthink everything, all of the time. You will stand outside of their bedroom doors and pray, hard, often. You are going to sneak into their rooms to catch a glimpse of the baby faces you can still see while they sleep. You have no idea how hard it is going to be to parent an adult child. You are going to yell. You are going to cry. You will say the words, “Stop licking your sister’s feet”. You are going to make a lot of mistakes. You are going to threaten to go on strike, a few times. You will serve cereal for dinner, more than once, popcorn and ice cream too. You are never going to finish the laundry! Ever!


YOU are going to raise great kids! YOU are going to make it. YOU are going to have a hard time letting them fly, but YOU are going to love watching them soar! 

23 years from now, you will still be in love with your husband, you will have a wonderful son in law, a bonus son from Brazil, and some really great friends. You will own your own business and you will still be traveling the world. YOU will have made a difference in this world because you have loved them well.

So my best advice to you is to give yourself grace, pray, don’t forget to breathe every now and then, and enjoy the ride!




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