Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dear Dara,

Dear Dara at 15,
You are about to enter high school. I know you think you already know it all...but you don't. Stop worrying about having a boyfriend. The 2 that you have these 4 years will cause you more than your share of drama. The other 3 years should be more like your junior year (the only year you'll be single...well, most of the year, anyway). Hang out with your friends, have more girl time, and enjoy all that time with your family. One of those girls will be such a special part of your life forever--you will go to college together, pledge together, be in each other's weddings, and have babies that are only 5 weeks apart. If you don't listen to me about the boys, at least enjoy that trip to Hawaii you'll get out of it!

Dear Dara at 18,
I know this is a scary time. You will be leaving the safety and security of your huge family and moving 2 1/2 hours away. That distance will seem so far away but will be close enough to run home for a weekend when you need it. I know you have your heart set on going to State, but fate and God have other plans for you. You will be resentful when a friend's mom tells you that you look at home on a tiny campus you're touring. Don't be. Going to the W will be one of the best things that has ever happened to you. You will fall in love with the beautiful campus, be really involved on campus, meet lifelong friends, and get to wear PJ's to class! At first you will visit State often, wishing your college experience was happening 20 minutes away. Give in and embrace the incredible place around you. Pledging Mam'selles will seem like a silly and scary things, and you'll want to quit. Be so, so glad you didn't! You will make great memories, and it will lead you to another amazing club, which will lead you to 12 of the best friends you will ever have. BlackList pledging will make you stronger and more determined (and super sleep deprived!). Cherish every moment you have there. You will never again be able to knock on a bathroom door (or any other door on the hall) and find a shoulder to cry on, a closet to raid, or food to steal.
PS--If you look across the fire at that campout, you'll see your future husband! :-)

Dear Dara at 22,
And you thought you were done with school! Pack up and move an hour east. This will be a very intimidating time. You will feel like you don't know anything when you start grad school. It's ok; you'll feel the same when you graduate! Study harder, even though you are so burnt out on school. Raising your hand and saying you need a roommate when your supervisor comes in that day will pay off. This girl will be the best roommate a girl could have! And you'll add a 3rd musketeer that will help you make it out alive.
That guy at your friend's wedding--yup, the one you think is such a dork...well, get ready because you're about to fall head over heels for him. He's the one you've been waiting for. During that summer, don't go through that mean phase with him. You'll almost lose him; be glad you didn't. He will take you on an adventure.

Dear Dara at 24,
Time to grow up. You are about to move to a part of the country that you weren't sure you'd ever visit, much less live in...BOSTON! That's what you get for falling for an Air Force guy. It will be hard living so far away from anyone that you know. You'll be ok. The boy and you will really get to know one another and become one another's best friends. You will finally get to put all that schooling to work. You will cry your first 3 days at work because you will be so overwhelmed. But things will get better on your 4th day. You will meet your co-worker who will become your mentor and friend. She will be your lifeline as you try to figure out this speech therapist thing.

Dear Dara at 30,
You've done a lot of living these past few years. You and the boy have separated from the AF, moved to Florida, survived his law school, and both have jobs. Now you know what it's time for...a baby. You will stress and worry that it won't happen. But it does. And she will be the most amazing thing you have ever seen. You will be a wonderful mom, even though there are some days you feel like quitting. It is all worth it when you look into those big blue eyes and see that heart-melting smile. But don't forget about the boy while you're focused on that perfect baby. Don't go through another mean spell--you want to make sure he sticks around! :-)

Love, Dara (at 31)

PS--I read my friends' letters about 3 weeks go and was inspired to write my letter. I thought of a million and one little things I would tell my former selves, but when I started writing,1 main theme popped up--cherish your friends. I am so blessed and lucky to have people I can call anytime for anything. I didn't delve into all the little things and just focused on the big picture stuff. Maybe I'll have to go back and add a few things, like buy a hair straightener way earlier than you do, study more that 2nd semester of your freshman year (that GPA will kill you, but we had so much fun!), don't feel inferior in grad school--you will grow up to be a good therapist, and quit eating so much your junior year so you're not a fatty!


The Haines

You are so precious- love this!


love this post! :)


This was so much fun to read. Loved it!

Owen and Erin

This was sweet Dara! I liked reading it!


Wow. This moved me to tears. I'm so glad I got to be a part of your life--and have your family in mine--for so many years. I know I missed a big chunk of these events, but I still care just as much about you as I did when we were kids. Enjoy your future journeys!

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