Dear Ten Year Old Amanda,
Ten was a really good age for you (for me?). Things are about to get turned upside down in the next few months and years, so I would like to tell you to enjoy the moment, and hang on for what is up ahead. You do survive AND THRIVE, but you are about to have your world turned upside down. It will be okay. Eventually it will be okay, sweet girl. Stay true to yourself and tune into Jesus. I know right now you know all about Him, but you don't really know Him. You will. He is going to meet you when you least suspect it and most need it, and He will keep you going from then on. You'll see.
Here are a few other things I would like you to know, right now, as you wrap up fourth grade:
- Play kickball, knock-out, and kick-the-can every chance you get. These will be some of your best memories. You don't know it yet, but you are so lucky to get to grow up on 11th Avenue A riding bikes up to Franklin Elementary and the Dairy Queen. Be kinder to your friends, and don't worry about getting a boyfriend. Give Maggie an extra hug now and then - you'll know why in the future.
- Don't worry about being tall or having big feet. Your feet eventually stop growing - well until you have babies, then your right foot will decide to grow again. Yes, just the right one. And yes, you have babies, but you don't end up naming them Dominick or Felicity.
- Don't be in a hurry to stop playing with your dollhouse. Yes, the one in the basement that is big and pink and has a heart that says, "Mandy" on it. You have the rest of your life to read Seventeen, so don't start now. Go play. Imagine. Create. Be a kid.
- Keep writing. I see you with your notebooks of stories and poems and diaries. I love your boldness at sharing your thoughts with others through words. In high school you will get discouraged by some teachers, but I hope you will realize they are just bitter old women who don't have a clue about writing from one's heart. You will always be a writer, so I say this to you at ten just as I am saying it to myself right now - KEEP WRITING even if you are your only audience.
- You will ignore this piece of advice, and I understand why. It is about to be your only act of rebellion. Some teenagers drink or smoke or become promiscuous. You will give up piano just because it is the only thing in your life you can control. You will look back on this as one of your biggest regrets. So please, don't stop taking piano lessons. (But when you inevitably do, don't beat yourself up over it in the years go come.)
- Enjoy your friends. Enjoy sliding down Alison's basement stairs in sleeping bags. Enjoy singing New Kids on the Block at slumber parties. Enjoy trying to knock each other off the teeter-totters at recess. Your friendships will change as a teenager, but as an adult you will be able to reconnect with some of them via this awesome new invention called The Internet.
- Ten is the year you meet a new friend, Jane. She will continue to be your best friend even in adulthood. You will see each other through life's crazy ups and downs.Ten is also the year you have the best teacher ever in fifth grade. She will help you through a rough patch in your life, and you will want to become a teacher because of not just the wonderful things she does in the classroom, but because of the type of person she is. She will also introduce you to the show "Voyage of the Mimi" which will be your first introduction to your future celebrity crush, Ben Affeck.
- Be nice to your brother. Yes, he is annoying right now. He will be annoying for a long time. But you will grow up and realize he is actually pretty cool. You will be glad to call him friend, and you will be amazed at what a good uncle he is to your kids, one of whom ends up being his mini-me. Be nice to your mom, too. You are going to yell and scream at each other a lot (more than you are currently doing), but she will always be one of your biggest advocates and will become one of your closest friends. I know you don't believe me, but it's true. And you know how she sings goofy songs at random times? You will eventually start doing that. But you will never really catch on to making your bed every morning.
I think that is all for now. Learn a lot. Don't be afraid to try new things. Maybe try a new sport (yes, I know you won't take my advice on that one, but I had to try.)