… growing up!

I’ve posted this picture all over the place – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook – so, it’s nothing new! But….I am completely obsessed with it. Not because it’s of me but because of what it represents and all of the thoughts that come with it.

At first thought, I think it’s HILARIOUS that both Alaina’s have on dresses with high necklines, pearl necklaces, and big hair. Ironic, yes? Considering I was seven and 29 in these pictures – it seems as though despite the twenty two year age difference, we are still, essentially, the same foundational person.
(Sidebar: looking at a picture and realizing it was taken twenty two years ago is a bit pauseworthy for me…….. lol. I don’t cringe or anything, I just find it interesting as I don’t FEEL as if I can think of an event in MY life that has happened so long ago!)

Anyway,  these pictures make me wonder what’s happened over the past twenty two years. Makes me look at the little me and wish I could just talk to her and see where she was then. I wonder what she REALLY thought and felt….. I wonder what her goals and dreams were – for the moment and for the older me I’m sure she never even THOUGHT about. Never even considered. I wish I could share with her so many of the things I’ve recently learned and learned throughout life that could definitely save and strengthen relationships, hone crafts and hobbies, and even make dreams come true. I’d love to sit with her and see what she talked about and find out what her favorite games were – partially because I don’t remember but to also stretch her thoughts and imagination a bit. I’d like to teach her to think out of the box and not worry so much about what other people thought about ANYthing. I’d like to tell her about all of the fun she would have, the friends she would hold dear….. the loves she would experience, the man she would marry. I’d want to help her avoid all of the irresponsible/terrible/emotionally driven BAD decisions that she would make – at every age….. but, keep the emotionally driven GOOD ones that came from an impulse and heart that seem to always bring her to great experiences with great people, the ones that you laugh about with your friends, the ones that teach you a lot, the ones you that make you appreciate trusting your first mind. I’d teach her to trust her instinct and her gut because when she did that, she would enjoy life so much more. I’d tell her to keep cheering. To continue playing the violin and cello that she would later take up. To dream big. To take risks. Bask in all the books she would read because they would open her mind and teach her so much. To stop making faces at people, and to be more accepting. More thoughtful ALL of the time. I’d want to walk with her throughout her life whispering wisdom and truths to her. I’d give her a hug. I’d want her to see the person she would end up being as an adult. Not one who’s at the end of their life but one who’s still growing and learning. As an adult, I’d like to see if I’m still fundamentally the same person I was then, you know? At our core. Who was I? I’d want her to know who she was at every stage of her life. I’d want to give her the confidence to be who she was. I’d want to show her that life goes on. I’d want her to develop a closer, more real relationship with God at 7.

I’d tell her that she would turn out okay……. And, try to ignore that forever nagging voice inside of us that tells us that we should be better. The voice that pushes us to do our best but that can overstep it’s boundary and make us feel inadequate because of our own, self imposed high standards. (The voice that’s writing now telling her all of the things she should NOT to do make her life better, instead of honoring who she is and encouraging her to be that little girl, the little person she is right now. The voice that ISN’T telling her how wonderful, smart, capable, and beautiful she is….. {{We’re working on it.}}) lol.

I’d tell her the same thing I’d have told myself yesterday, and try to whisper everyday – you are so beautiful – inside and out. You have great potential to be whatever you want. You are smart, intelligent. You have everything inside of you do be and do what you want. Show the love of God to everyone – even though you don’t always know HOW to do that or what it looks like in real life, in real situations; treat people the way you want to be treated – with appreciation, grace, mercy, and forgiveness – and you’ll be okay. {{See??We’re working on it…… hopefully next year THIS paragraph will be the larger portion of the post. ***smiles***}}

I’d tell this little girl all of these things and more, probably with both smiles and tears, knowing what we’d go through, and she’d probably look up at me and make some sort of face and say “Um.. ok.” and bop away to live our life. Learning and growing. Becoming who we’re meant to be.

… here’s to growing up. To achieving unrealized goals. To going after your dreams and following your heart not matter how old or where you are in life.
… here’s to taking inventory every once in a while to make sure you’re growing and learning. Making good decisions and following your heart. Trusting your instincts. And, doing things to make your younger self proud to be who you were and your older self  proud of who you will soon become.

Appreciate the past because it will bring you to your present and your future. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t make them again. Do your best. Be proud of who you are but humble enough to become a better, more secure you. Love with all of your might. Forgive with everything inside of you. Do what you love. Trust yourself. Trust your ability. Love God.
“….seek justice. love mercy. walk humbly with your God….”