Dear Me in 1983

Dear Me in 1983,

I am writing you now because I know this is a hard time in your life. You’re a junior in high school. You moved last year, and in loneliness you jumped into a relationship with a boy who wasn’t good for you. Now after months of your life revolving around him and imagining a future with him, he’s broken up with you. You’re having a hard time moving on, seeing anything good beyond the end of this relationship;

Don’t give up now. Your prince is right around the corner. In fact, he’s sitting in the school library right now, watching you sitting on the lawn eating your cafeteria pizza. He’s trying to get up his courage to ask you out. It’ll take him a few more months– he’s a guy who doesn’t make a move until he is sure of himself– but he’ll be worth the wait. In fact, he’ll be more than you even know to hope for right now.

Enjoy the waiting time too, though. Enjoy your 127 pound self ( And NO, your stomach most emphatically is not fat– please believe me on this point.) Enjoy that job at the carwash this summer. I’m not sure whether to tell you to steer clear of Roberto. He’s a little too old for you and he isn’t THE one, but he is kind and he is sweet, and let’s face it, he is FINE sitting there in his El Camino at that stoplight with the stereo blasting “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”

And your family? I know you think your family is too big and too loud and too….conspicuous. But you’ll get over that. It’ll take a decade or so, but eventually those pesty younger siblings will be some of your most treasured friends. When you head off to college, don’t forget to check in with them, and with your mom and dad. You’ll be busy studying and working (and smooching your soon-to-be fiance), but your family misses you, so keep in touch.

There are sad times coming, too, you see. I’m not sure if I should tell you fact, maybe it was better you didn’t know this was coming..but your dad is only going to be around for five more years. Yes, I know he’s only 44. But there’s going to be an accident and a phone call and months of damp pillows in the dark of the night.

You’re going to make it. Your mom and your brothers and sisters are going to make it too. Somehow. But that time will rock your foundations. Keep the faith. Between now and then, hug Dad lots. In fact, give him a hug for me today, will you? Have someone snap some pictures of the two of you- you can’t ever have too many. Tell him how much he means to you. Treasure the time.

Don’t be afraid of what’s in store, though. It’s not nearly all sad. You’re going to have a great future. You’re going to be a nurse, like you dreamed of since age five. Being a mom is going to be more wonderful than you could ever imagine. Harder too. But oh, so worthwhile.

And you know how you said you’d never have more than four kids? You’re wrong. Blessedly wonderfully wrong. God has great plans for you, so get ready! You know the African doll and the Asian doll you played with as a child along with all the blond-haired ones? Your family is going to be just that colorful. You’ll fly thousands of miles to bring your babies home. And those homecomings will be just as wonderful as the moments when the doctor hands you the babies born from your body.

Trust God for your life. He won’t steer you wrong, even in the moments when you’re sure you’ve made a wrong turn somewhere. Treasure the little moments. Laugh lots. Be joyful always. The future is bright.

Love and Prayers,

Your 2007 Self


  1. Wonderful letter. Wonderful. Made me teary!

  2. wow, that was really cool mary. sorry about your dad, it is such the truth that we wish we could give them just a few more hugs. mine died when i was 17, wish that he could have shared in my children’s lives. it is so awesome to reflect back and see how God’s hand was so faithful in our lives.

  3. Hi Mary – really great post. I loved it. Brilliant idea as well.


  4. What an absolutely brilliant post…I loved it and i`m glad I visited today

  5. Wow, Mary….I’m crying all over the place. Thanks for that beautiful post. God is so good. And will continue to be good. Forever 🙂 thanks for the reminder!

  6. Mary, this was GREAT.

  7. You really are a terrific writer Mary – said through quiet sobs…..wonderfully beautiful!

  8. Mary, that was a fantastic post. Can I copy you? It really puts so much in perspective to look back, doesn’t it? I absolutely love your blog and read it everyday and tell my husband all about it. I love your colorful family. I grew up in a semi-colorful home with one internationally-adopted sibling. But I live in Africa now, a place that is colorful and oh so not America! God bless you! Angie

  9. What a cool idea. I might think about writing a letter to myself-in-the-past, too. Although I don’t know if I would be brave enough to share mine with the world – too many mistakes from the past. 😉

  10. I love this. I’m with a couple people who say, let’s try this excercise. I’m always telling my young mother friends if I knew then what I know now…but then again, it’s a good thing I didn’t, I don’t know if I would have ended up in the wonderful place I am now!

  11. What a wonderful way to look at your journey, Mary. Spectacular post.

  12. this is the most beautiful and heart felt piece of writing i’ve read in months..god bless you

  13. Now why did you go and make me tear up like that? I absolutely loved this concept for getting a cool perspective on how temporal and wonderful life is. If only we knew as kids, huh. 😉

  14. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

  15. Liz in Australia says:


  16. What a wonderful idea, really stops to make you think!

  17. This is a beautiful letter — what a neat idea! — and so wonderfully written.

    I can “Amen!” the admonition to take pictures. I’ve been distressed since my mom passed away to realize that we don’t have many of her. And the one about our bodies being FINE as they are. I wish I had now the body I thought was so far from perfect then!

    It’s so sweet that your dolls reflected what your children would be like later on.

  18. Awesome! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God truly allowed us this opportunity? *wink*

  19. Wow. Loved that.

  20. I hope she heard you! What a beautiful post and great perspective.

    I loved the part about enjoying her 127 pound self. Great stuff. I am sure it will minister to many including the high schoolers that read your blog and wondering about their futures.

  21. Mary – I’ve never commented here before, but after reading this post, I simply have to. That was such a beautiful, humble, revealing glimpse of your heart. It must have taken a lot of courage to post such an intimate perspective of yourself. Thanks for sharing.

    p.s. I love this letter idea. I just might have to use it!

  22. I love it! That was such a fun way to look back at a time in your life. You are so great at writing and I love reading about you.

    BTW, I was 2 in 1983 🙂

  23. Wonderful post….

  24. Good job! I like this form even better than the I Am From’s. Ever hear what happened to ol’Roberto?

  25. That is beautiful! I would love to be able to go back and talk some sense into my high school self!

  26. That’s beautiful and it made me cry.

  27. What a wonderful letter! May your father’s Memory be Eternal.

  28. Wow! That was amazing… made me cry. The 1983 version of me needs a lot of healing and writing it out from the perspective of 2007 is such a great idea. It really says a lot that you were able to write this and publish it. As close as I got to revealing my past pain was writing “a girl who lost her way and found it…” in a recent post. I applaud your honesty and revealing nature. We all learn from you.


  29. Oh this was beautiful Mary. Loved it.

  30. Mary, what a beautiful post. I just cried all the way through it. It makes me really want to be around my Dad more. He’s not doing well physically and suddenly it just seems urgent to be closer to him. Mary, you are such a wonderful person. I’m so glad I know you.

  31. Very nice. Yeah, I would like to jump ahead a few years, and tell myself not to stress over the incertainties in my life right now! So, you’ve motivated me to take that perspective anyway. Things really do usually turn out for the best, and we survive the hard times. Thanks.

  32. Wow! Well written and such a valuable exercise! I’ve always written a letter to my next year’s self to read on my birthday, but the letter always has so many questions– this is a beautiful example of the answers we really can expect with the passage of time, a lot of patience, and just plain life moving on.
    Great reminder, thanks for sharing!

  33. Oh Mary, what a wonderful, lovely post. Don’t you wish you’d received this letter back then? Would you have been able to hear it, bear it? I kept thinking about one of my own daughters as I read this. I want to share this with her and encourage her that someone special just might be right around the corner also.

    Thank-you for such a sweet, meaningful post.

  34. Oh that was wonderful! It gave me the chills and then had me choking up! What a wonderful post!

  35. You can add me to your list of friends you left in tears.

  36. I loved what you said about your father, that was so lovely and beautiful, – to give him a hug from me today – ooh if only we coudl just send ourselves a letter reminding us of that alone.
    I once read a quote about family that reminded us “our lives may be long, but our time with parents [or grandparent] is short”. It truly is. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your life.

  37. Wow, Mary ……. wow, wow, wow……… you gave me goosebumps!


  38. I haven’t been by in awhile…just trying to make it through each day lately- but a friend said- you have to go and read her letter- so I did- and it is beautiful…I was thinking how its probably good we really can’t write those letters and mail them back in time….because all of your best surprises would be known! And God only knows what your teenage self would have thought about her becoming a mom of so many- she might have fainted right there on the spot! 🙂

    I am going to do the “day in the life thing” and then because some important circumstances have changed I will be able to blog a bit more again! 🙂

  39. Hi. I don’t visit often but I’m glad I did today. Your letter really touched me. I think I need to write letters like yours to a few of my younger selves…

  40. That was truly beautiful.

  41. what a great post! though sad, i loved it. it’s such a neat idea and i can’t believe you can remember all of that.

  42. mary – i am crying reading this. gosh…this really hits home for me right now. beautiful as always…

  43. That was so cool.

  44. Hi Mary,

    Your Dear Me post is wonderful! I am sitting here with tears in my eyes!

  45. Wow. I wish I could write a letter like this to myself in 1983, or better yet, to my two daughters in 2007. Your post has gripped my heart. Thank you.


  46. Oh Mary. This was beautiful.

  47. I got here through the “Your Childhood Home” button on my friend’s blog. Was reading through your favorite posts and am all weepy now.
    What a beautiful letter.


  48. Oh my goodness, you have me in tears at 6:57 am. Beautiful, just beautiful!

  49. Wow Mary! I’m new here and was poking around…what a treasure! This post is amazing. I will definitely be returning…regularly. God bless you and yours this Christmas season!


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