Every morning, on my way home from Kindergarten, I drive past myself.
And I swear sometimes it’s so real, these two versions of me layered over each other, intersecting, that it’s like I’m watching a movie, the me from back then, sitting in the damp grass, nursing a baby, and worrying and waiting to go get Eli, crossed with the me of now, speeding down the dappled sunlit tree covered street, and the music dims and I glance back at her and slow down just a little, and then I flutter my fingers and wave at her as I drive on by.
Of course I don’t really wave. Of course I’m not really there, that me of two years ago, but sometimes I do see her so clearly, it’s eerie, and I can’t help but think about all the things I’d like to tell her, that girl I used to be.
I can see us now. Me bent over, smiling, long hair hanging down over my face, and shyly leaning in. Whispering to her: “It will all be ok. And then it will be so much better than ok.I promise. I know.” I’d laugh, and I’d tell her about the curly hair. I’d tell her that when Kindergarten arrives, she will be so grateful for these six wretched weeks of preschool drop off that she will raise her eyes heavenward and whisper “thank you” every time her five year old walks, straight backed and happy, into his new school, but that truly, the way his face crumples into tears the minute he sees her at pick up will be something she may never be rid of, like someone pressed a tiny indentation into her heart.
It will be ok, I would say. You’ll meet the restaurant minimum, I’d say. I promise. And then I’d tell her to make sure to say yes to neighbors with open bottles of wine. I’d tell her to really consider writing some smutty dirty Edward and Bella fan fiction. I’d tell her that two years from now, a thousand times a day, she’ll feel happy. Genuinely unconcernedly happy. I’d tell her maybe not to do those shots. I’d tell her that the number on the back of her shorts isn’t as important as she thinks it is, and that learning to love herself the way she is now isn’t failure even though it feels SO MUCH like it is, but is instead one of the very best things she’ll ever accomplish. And I’d tell her she’ll do some very hard things she never thought she could, and when she does, she’ll realize for the first time, that actually, she can do anything. Anything.
Mostly though, I’d tell her that these things won’t come to her tied to ribbons from the sky. Some things will be lucky, and some things will be unlucky, but most things she’ll have to work for. Most things she’ll have to fight for. Most things she’ll have to push herself towards a little bit, and sometimes more than a little bit. And she’ll have to fill out a lot of forms.
And the thing is, I can’t help it, because I drive by that girl every morning, and I think about how far she’s come, and how hard she’s worked, and I fidget a little in my seat, and while I fidget, I wonder. I wonder.
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