Dear me at 17:
You’re doing it again.
Sitting in class, wishing away the minutes. Wishing away the hours. Wishing it were next week, next month, next year. Wishing that time would start moving faster and take you away to the next best thing.
I’m writing you this Letter today to tell you that, as it stands, time moves way too quickly. It might not seem like it now, trapped in one of those signature teenaged moments, waiting for your life to start. But believe me, in a few years, you’ll be wishing with all your might that everything would begin to just slow down a bit.
Ten years from now, you will be writing this Letter while your daughter naps upstairs. She will be turning two years old in just a few days.
Two. Years. Old.
Thinking about it, it will be hard to believe that two years have already come and gone. It will feel like moments ago that you felt her kick inside your growing belly. Stretching her legs out, getting to know her limbs. Hiccuping tiny little hiccups that felt like little tickles near your hip.
It will feel like moments ago that you went into labour. You had rushed to the hospital only to spend the next thirty some hours awaiting her arrival. Nervous and excited and hurting like hell, trying any precarious position that might ease a pain so great you thought you might not be able to do it.
It will feel like moments ago that you witnessed her sweet little lips take their very first breath. That you met her for the first time. The doctor placed her on your chest, blinking hard, already surveying the room around her and trying to make sense of the incredible journey she had just begun. You placed your hand on her teensy little back for the very first time and whispered “Hello, sweet girl”. Your life had changed forever, in an instant.
You had been given a gift more precious than any you had ever known. A beautiful, healthy, baby girl. But not just any baby girl. You will soon find out just how bright, sensitive, strong, determined and loving a little girl she is. You could never have imagined the kind of admiration and respect you would have for this tiny little person. When you had envisioned motherhood, you had always thought about all the things you could teach her. What you couldn’t have predicted is the many things that she will teach you, and all the ways you will wish that you had but one fraction of her inner strength and independence.
In two years you will watch this beautiful little person grow and grow and grow. As is typical of her personality, she will meet all her milestones according to her own timelines and plans. She will skip crawling and go straight to walking. Without even practicing, one day, she will just start to walk. She’ll look at you as if to say, “What are you looking at? By the way, I can walk now”.
You will watch her make little friends of her own and form intense bonds with them, far beyond her years. You will see how deeply she cares for these other little babies, and her immense excitement in sharing her time with them.
You will watch her develop interests of her own, far different from yours. She will be the toughest little baby girl you know, choosing trucks, motorcycles and trains over baby dolls and princesses.
You will watch in complete awe as this tiny little person forms a personality larger than life, right before your eyes.
And as much time as you spend with her, regardless of the fact that you spend your days playing with her, feeding her, taking care of her, you will still feel like you are missing it all. Like time is slipping through your hands like water, and no matter how hard you try to catch it and pick it back up, it just keeps dripping away.
And, though you will be incredibly excited about all of her birthday gifts and celebrations (perhaps a little too excited?), there will always be a big part of your heart that will lament the passing of each year that her birthday marks. Each year will take her further away from you and closer to her own life. Closer to her first day of school. Closer to her first job. Her first apartment. Her first child of her own. These are firsts that will bring you immense joy. But you can’t help but wonder whether you will always just wish you could take it all back in time and hold her in your arms once again. Kiss her little baby forehead. Smell that sweet baby smell at the nape of her little neck. Stare into her eyes, and see her staring back at you as though you are the most important person in her little world. Because, back then, you were.
And so, my dear girl, here is your task: Learn how to freeze time. You are a very smart girl and I’m sure if you study hard enough now, you could figure it out in time for the birth of your baby girl. Then you’d be able to savour those sweet baby moments for as long as you like. And maybe you might not feel as bittersweet when you help her blow out the candles this weekend.
Stop wishing so hard that time would move faster. Because, believe me, in a few short years, your wish will most definitely come true.