Dear Little Miss Genevieve,
You’re about to turn ten years old in a month! It’s a good thing too because you drove our mother crazy in anticipation of finally reaching those infamous “double digits”!! I guess no one really calls you Genevieve right now, do they? Most people call you Genny or some variation of well-earned nicknames! I don’t know if Mom has told you this yet but she said that she and Dad named us Genevieve Victoria so that when we became famous, we would never have to change our name! Sweet, isn’t it? So promise me that any time you ever feel a little under the weather, you will remember that long before we were even born, a couple of people had some really big hopes for us. I know that right now, you find it hard to live a life with the name Genevieve as it just seems so grown up and sophisticated but I promise you that eventually, you will grow into it and in some ways, you might even think it suits you. It goes with well with your long legs!!
As we both get a little bit older, I wish that I had some really great words of wisdom for you. As it turns out though, I seem to be learning just as much now as I did when I was your age…sometimes, it’s even the same lessons over and over again [no, we don’t appear to grow out of our stubbornness just yet!]. I’m finding that advice, much like happiness, is something that we seem to reflect on in retrospect. At some point in time, we look back and say to ourselves “yeah…that was worth writing down” but, with youth comes the inability to see that life will and does go on, whether we make the same mistakes or not.
About five or six years from now, your going to find yourself curled up in a ball on your bed, crying your eyes out because you’ve had your heart broken for the very first time. You’ll soon come to learn that you are a person that loves so deeply with every fiber of your being. This means that you also grieve, hurt and feel that loss with the same degree of passion. While you’re curled up in your moment of misery, Mom is going to reassure you that, one of these days, you’re going to meet someone that will more than make up for all the love that you put out into the world that never seemed to come back. Though it will seem like little consolation at the time, believe her…she is right. Paul McCartney’s words will follow you through more tears than you ever thought possible…“in the end, the love that we take is equal to the love that we make”.
As I say this though, I want you to know that dealing with men in the earlier part of your life will come as the most unique example of trial and error that you’ll ever experience. I’ll be the first to admit that men are still a complete mystery to me but one thing that I do know is that for all of their differences, men bring so much feeling into life. They are handsome and funny and protective. They smell good, they have the most adorable smiles on their faces when they are happy to see you and they will, with utmost certainty, flip your world upside down!
Two men in particular though, will make your heart break so much that you’ll feel like it might never beat again. While you endure the agony of humanity’s cruelest test of patience, to have loved and lost, you will find comfort in knowing that you are, indeed, still breathing. Much to your surprise, you’ll come out on the other side anchored by an even stronger ability to stand on your own. Somehow, despite the pain, you do find that a broken heart still beats just the same. You will discover though that friendship with someone that you’ve once ached over can be equally agonizing. Something about the way you once looked at each other never really goes away. The sound of their voice, the way they reach out to grab your hand in a crowd, the first sight of them after too many days apart…they just leave an indelible mark that is not easily erased. Eventually though, you come to realize that maybe you don’t want them to be erased from your life. Instead, maybe it’s okay for them to be the incomplete chapters of your life…the blank pages at the end of your book. After all, they were fantastic kissers!
One day though, at the most unexpected moment, the most handsome of all men will come along and promise to hold your heart in the palm of his hand so he can protect it from the ravages of the world. It won’t always be easy but it will always be worthwhile. You will laugh like you’ve never laughed before, you will see the world in the brightest of colours, and you will be healed with him in a way that you could never have been without him. What you will learn about yourself through his eyes will help to you grow in a way that only comes from such pure and unconditional love. Then, surrounded by [almost] everyone you love, you will stand before God and commit your life to him. The sun will shine brightly the day you wake up to marry the man of your dreams.
I know that right now you don’t know much about God but, in due time, you will find your way back to Him. It will be a painful search at times and you’ll be more lost than you’ve ever been but, He will find you and you’re life will never be the same again. Be prepared to defend your chosen path though because not everyone will share in your serenity. But that’s also part of what makes it so special…that your decisions are slowly starting to become your own. You’ll learn that your choices, like your faith, only require that you believe in them and not anyone else. For all the validation and approval that you seek, through your faith, you’ll realize that your existence, in and of itself, makes you worthy of being loved. I really wish that this was something you could learn sooner but, sometimes, we only open ourselves up to the possibility when there are no other options left. You’ll cry, you’ll fall on your knees and you’ll raise your hands to the heavens but you’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find that the heavens are always more than happy to return the favour!
Relationships will become the foundation of your life and the reality is that relationships can be hard. Humans are unpredictable and the people we love can cause us more tears than we would like to admit but, in the end, they are our reason for being. It will never become easy for you to let go but you need to know that some relationships, regardless of how important they are, need space. Time doesn’t only make the heart grow fonder but it also paves the way for forgiveness, grace and the necessary room to grow. During these times, try to have compassion. It isn’t always the easiest thing to do but, everyone does the very best that they can and more times than not, it’s more than good enough. You are who you are because of the people who loved you. We don’t always make the wisest decisions in the midst of love but, we always do what we think is best, be it right or wrong. Having said all of this though, I need you to remember something…it is not your responsibility to make other people happy. It is your blessing to share in their happiness but it’s not your job bring them something that only they can find. Repeat after me…you can’t rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I wish that I was able to help you learn this sooner, but I get the impression that it’s a lesson that can’t be rushed. During that time though, you’ll also learn that to show humility and understanding to another person’s choices takes great maturity and I’m proud to say that it’s a maturity that you’ll develop very soon and will become one of your greatest gifts.
Speaking of gifts…one day, you’re going to fall in love all over again when you hear yourself get called “Mommy”. You’re going to choose names of your own…you’re going to raise two little people who hang on your every word…and you’re going to hear another heart beating alongside your own. And when this happens, your entire world is going to change. For the first time, you will understand of depths of what’s really important in this life. I won’t give away all of the highlights, but I can promise you that your greatest adventure is yet to come! And you’ll experience it off little or no sleep!
Allow me assure you that your life will be blessed beyond what you are even capable of imagining right now. Your life will become layer upon layer of every day miracles; the arms that hold you while you sleep, the sweet voices that welcome you when you come home, the serenity of the walls that protect you, the shoulders that are constantly there through laughter and through tears, and yes, you will see the Southern Cross with your very own eyes [and it is just as incredible as you always imagined it would be!]. The people that you choose to fill your life with will become your pillars of strength, your reflection of yourself and your very proof that God exists. Carry them with you always for they have witnessed your life in immense ways.
Let me tell you something though, young lady…with great gifts comes great responsibility. You will be blessed in ways that some people will spend their entire lives hoping for and in turn, you have been entrusted with considerable duty. As the older and wiser one of the two of us, I feel obliged to tell you that I have great expectations for you and the manner in which you walk through this life. And while it may seem like a lot of work now…I know that you’re up for the challenge; I expect you to always find the light when there is darkness. I expect you to always hold your head high because whether you know it now or not…you are a Child of God. I expect you to be the hands that reach out to help another and I expect compassion from you even when it’s not being offered in return. I expect you to find joy in the simplicities of life [you’ll discover Starbucks in your twenties…that is a great day!] and I expect you to share that joy when others need it most. I expect you to always find forgiveness in your heart…not just for others, but also for your self. I expect you to never give up on your dreams and to be thankful everyday, even if you’re just thankful that the day is finally over. I expect you to share your last Smarties and to share your heart. I expect you to believe in others even when they don’t believe in themselves and I expect you to never, ever, refuse a sincere compliment [this will take some time].
Most importantly though, don’t be afraid. You’re so much stronger than you think and twenty-five years from now…you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about…