If I could write a letter to me

If I could write a letter to me... Oh where to begin! Over at Chatting at the Sky, everyone is writing letters to their teenage selves... I had always wanted to do this after hearing Brad Paisley's "If I could write a letter to me" song, but I never really took the time to do it. So today, here it is!

Dear 17 year old Candace,

I know you are really enjoying yourself in your junior year of high school. Fall is approaching and you are probably getting ready for a high school football game since it is a Friday afternoon. 2001 is a year that you will look back on and smile and cry at the memories being made. A lot happens this year. You start to figure out who you are, you learn who your true friends are, you experience your first heartbreak, and even grief.

Lets get some bad news out of the way first. In ten short days you are going to lose a friend and another classmate in a tragic car accident. It will be your first real experience with death and it wont be your last this year. I'm not going to sugar coat it... it will be awful. You and everyone else will have trouble wrapping your minds around how short life is. Believe it or not, you aren't invincible, and the fancy cars kids are driving can kill them. Learn from this, and as cliche as it sounds, live every day as if it were your last.
At 17 you think you have everything figured out. Please listen to me now when I tell you that you dont. Your parents are actually smart, and one day you will enjoy hanging out with them and even enjoy a beer together, instead of hiding them in the closet of the lakehouse! High school does not define who you are. Being a cheerleader is not as cool as you think it is. You will actually realize this and quit before your senior year. They will make future reality shows about how crazy the moms and coaches are. You're probably wondering what a reality show is, think "The Real World" but on every channel about topics ranging from singing, dancing, and even rednecks named "honey boo boo." (Dont even ask)

STUDY! Right now you are getting by because school comes naturally to you, step up and take a harder class. Challenge yourself! Learn Spanish, it would be extremely beneficial. If you would, then you just might get to go to the school of your choice... instead of having to transfer in your Sophomore year. But you do, and it isn't the end of the world, despite what you may think when you freak out at the mail box after receiving your denial letter. That is a definite blow to the ego, but it is a learning experience.

People say that high school friendships aren't lasting and that you meet your "real friends" in college. This does not ring true for you. The friends that you have now will be your friends that you always go back to. No matter what life throws at you, you can always reunite with these girls. When everyone is spread from California to Romania, you still have a tie that binds you. Even if things change and you may not always see eye to eye, you will remain friends. You will be in each other's weddings, raise babies together, and your husbands will get along great!

Speaking of husbands and babies, just wait for what God has in store for you! The person you are currently dating is not right for you. He will break up with you as soon as a cute senior gives him a second look. You will get a pathetic lame excuse that he needs more time to focus on baseball... you and I both know this is a crock. Listen to your gut, it is usually right! But, you enjoy this "break" to find yourself. I wish I could say that when you heard the voice in your head telling you not to go back with him, that you listened... but you dont. Dont worry, eventually you learn that he is not right for you. You will pray for God to send you a wonderful Christian man, someone worthy of you, and he does! The best one you have ever met! He will love you unconditionally and inspire you to always be better. Your family will love him, and life will be good. You will have a gorgeous outdoor October wedding like you always wanted and even though it will monsoon the day before, your wedding day will be flawless.

In your first year of marriage you will be blessed with a bouncing baby boy. He will steal your heart the minute you find out you are pregnant. Keating will come into the world kicking and screaming and he wont stop for 10 months. He will even make you question your sanity and your ability to be a good mother. Eventually he stops crying and starts being happy. He is smart and hilarious with great comedic timing. Two years later, he will get a "surprise" baby brother named Archer that never stops smiling and laughing. You will be an official boy mom, no frilly bows and Barbies in your house because the floors will be cluttered with toy trains and sporting goods. You will love every second of it and your boys adore you and are truly mama's boys. You will understand what unconditional love is, and your heart will break every time you see your sons, because they are truly perfect.

As you can see, life only gets better from here. Learn from your experiences, pray unceasingly, and love those around you. If you only knew how great things turn out...You are truly blessed.