On Writing: A Letter to My Childhood Self

Dear little me, 

I have written you so many letters in my mind through the years. But I’ve never actually put any words down on paper to you before. I’m nervous because I have SO much to say to you but only a little time today. Sometimes I forget that you aren’t going anywhere, you’re always here with me, so I could write or talk to you any time. I’ve always wondered about you. I don’t remember you at this age, except in broken childhood memories that I can’t decide are even my own. Most are pieced together from old photos or other people’s stories of you. I DO know you will grow to protest dresses, anything pink, the mistake others often make of calling you “Elizabeth,” and going to bed in the summer when the sun is still high in the sky.

Now I have two little boys around your age and I’m constantly awed by the magic of childhood – the innocence, joy, and incredible expanse of children’s imaginations. One of my favorite things in all the universe, is the sound of their laughter. It reminds me of wind chimes twinkling in the early morning breeze or of the birds chirping their joyful spring chatter to one another. Sometimes it can be bold, like mouthfuls of sunshine.

I imagine your laughter sounds the same and I love that.

My 4-year old loves learning new words, the bigger, the better. He collects them like you collect rocks and coins and interesting stamps. Ravenous, skeptical, gigantic, perceptive… these are his most recently collected few. I wonder if you collect words too? I feel like you probably do because I know you love to read. So today I have a new one for you. You won’t hear for years, but when you do, I want you to understand what it means so I’ll tell you about it now.

Someday someone will tell you that you have a “vivacious” personality. When I looked it up in the dictionary (like I do with my son when we find a word we are curious about), it said vivacious means “full of life.” That is one I want you to remember. There will be many people in life who tell you that you are “too much” of this or “not enough” of that. You’ll hear that you are overdramatic, oversensitive, that your feeling are too big or make others uncomfortable. And you may come to believe these things, so I’m here to set the record straight. 

You are not too much or too little of ANYthing, dear one.

You are exactly enough. You’ll grow up and always feel things deeply, talk enthusiastically and passionately, and laugh out loud in a way that makes people around you notice. These are amazing qualities you possess. Your heart is tender and you ARE full of life. You are exactly the right amount of enough. That is what I want to tell you today (and what I will keep telling you whenever you need a reminder).



This piece was written as a response to my A Letter To Writing Challenge Day 1 prompt: A letter to your childhood self.

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