Dear 25yo Carrie,
I’m writing to you from the future. Yes, the future. Right now, you’re 25, and I’m about to be 37. I have 12 years of intimate Carrie knowledge (and a few surprises) to pass on in only a short amount of time. So, listen up. ***And if you want some MAJOR spoilers, you can skip to the end and see some craziness about your life that you probably never would have expected.***
You know that guy Jeff you’re dating right now? He’s going to ask you to marry him soon. He will confess that he bought the ring months ago because he knew you were The One, but he wanted to wait until he was less scared. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but the proposal was awesome. You said yes, of course. Your wedding registry was a little random. The wedding was amazing. The honeymoon in Jamaica was sublime.
A mere four months after your wedding, you’re going to get a big surprise. Like, a surprise in which you need to be glad you didn’t use all the Target gift cards from your wedding because you’re going to need to forego the adorable outdoor salad set in favor of onesies, diapers, and car seats. That kind of surprise. And try to ignore the people who ask you about your anniversary date and your baby’s due date, trying to determine if yours was a shotgun wedding.
There are so many things I want to tell you…but I really want to give you some “youth is wasted on the young” advice. You always hear people say that, but I’m actually feeling that way about you right now. So here are a few things I want you to appreciate and embrace your life right now, at 25.
- Getting in and out of the car. It seems trivial, I know. But please just enjoy your little two-seater convertible and your ability to bop in and out of stores at will, without regard for car seats, strollers, diaper bags, nap times, snacks, extra changes of clothes, and small people begging for eye-level sugar. In fact, you’d better sneak some pre-kid candy now because if the kids see you eating candy, they want it, too. Babies with sugar is its own can of worms.
- Leisurely shopping in actual stores for cute clothes. This goes away quickly when you have kids because of several factors. A-Shopping with babies/kids is exhausting and mostly not worth it if you can at all avoid bringing small children into stores. B-Those cute clothes you were shopping for? They don’t fit anymore. Nothing fits. Ever again. Your best shopping bet with kids is to have a plan, get your stuff, and move out. Any other attempts are futile and sad.
- Laying out by the pool. I know you had a pool at your single-girl condo and it was the greatest thing ever, but those days will soon be over. Remember reading a book in the sunshine? Falling asleep on a float? Meaningful conversations about the future with your girlfriends? Going to the pool with kids is 180 degrees different. You are on 100% death prevention, sunburn prevention, and pre-planning snacks, drinks, swim diapers, and the overly wet ride home. All this effort is now in the name of a good, solid, 3-4 hour nap for all parties involved. If you can stay awake after the pool, you’ve earned your alone time, darlin’.
- Dining out in restaurants. Just enjoy the ability to eat your own food, in peace, at a reasonable pace. The first time you go out to eat with your perfect daughter, to Logan’s Roadhouse which should be acceptably loud and therefore non-judgmental, you will have to leave the restaurant to breastfeed her in the car. And don’t get me started on your later children’s tantrums in restaurants. And you know the money you used to spend having a beer or two? Now you get to use that money to buy overly expensive kids’ meals, and your kids will inevitably not eat what you get them.
- Not paying a babysitter. Right now, you can just head out whenever you want. Some of your friends, even after they become parents, can just leave their kids with the grandparents for free, but you are RWG (Refugees Without Grandparents). But guess what? Once you start paying a sitter by the hour (and you will pay well because you want the best), you will learn to have fun in a shorter amount of time to compact the babysitting budget. You need date nights, but you need to be able to put gas in your car, too.
- I know you think you’re fat right now. You will kick yourself for not losing weight before your wedding. You will attempt to squeeze into clothes that are too snug just so you don’t go up a size. You will berate yourself for a size 10. TEN!! Let me just tell you, ENJOY your size right now, because it’s been almost eight years, and you haven’t gotten back to that pre-pregnancy weight. And guess what? You don’t really care anymore. Heavier? Yes. Happier in your life today? Absolutely.
So 25yo Carrie, I hope you will accept this letter from the future as gospel. Pass it along to your friends who aren’t parents yet. Make sure that you say a little high-five of thanks to your guardian almost-37yo Carrie every time you enjoy a little slice of life mentioned above. Being a mother is the best job in the world, and you will love it, and you will hope that you’re good at it, and on some days you’ll be great at it (other days…just hope no one is watching). But you can take this advice from older you…don’t let youth be wasted on you.
You (almost 12 years later)
***SPOILERS ABOUT YOUR LIFE***
- You have THREE kids. Yes, I’m sure you would have guessed two, but you’re wrong.
- After 11 years teaching high school English, you are now a STAY AT HOME MOM. And you love it, and you’re busy, and it’s awesome and worth it.
- You live in ARKANSAS. I know, right? And you really love it!
- You were once a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. And you won a trip to HAWAII!!
- You are writing a BLOG after Randle talked you into it, and you LOVE WRITING again. Score!