It’s difficult to know what to write retrospectively, because you risk it becoming a self-fulfilled prophesy. However, there were certainly dreams I had as a child that have some parallels to where I am today and there are several things I promised myself that would be different when I was a grown up. And since I actively remember promising myself those things, I used them for the content of my letter.
Dear Old Frances:
By the time you read this, you will be living somewhere in Europe as a famous writer. You will have really long hair and everyone will love the clothes you wear. You’ll even eat outside at those little round tables and drink coffee out of those really small cups.
By the time you read this, you will have lots of friends and they won’t make fun of you for being weird and not having money. You will even have a boyfriend who holds your hand.
When you are old though, will you please remember to laugh and be goofy? I don’t want you to be one of those grumpy old people who don’t like kids.
So, how does what I thought then compare to my life today?
Well, I’m not exactly living in the Europe of my childhood imagination (as I child I pictured Paris as my future home, and likely didn’t know Scotland existed!) and I rarely eat outside at little tables (Scottish weather isn’t exactly conducive to such behaviour). But I do drink coffee from really small cups sometimes. And I eat all sorts of other foods I imagined I’d eat: Those skinny loafs of bread, fancy food that doesn’t take up the whole plate, and all the candy I want!
Am I a famous writer? Well, no. But I do write for both work and personal enjoyment. And my former foster daughter thinks I’m famous. So that sort of counts, right?
Do I have a boyfriend who holds my hand? No. But I did have an amazing husband once, and I’m pretty sure I could have a boyfriend to hold my hand if I wanted. (Or maybe not!)
Are others envious of my awesome style? Most likely not! But at least my friends don’t mock me for my style. (Though they are allowed to point out when something doesn’t work.)
And I do have long hair—something my Daddy often lopped off to prevent me from continuing my then-habit of chewing on it. (OK, it’s not well-maintained long hair. But it isn’t a pageboy which is an improvement.)
And—most importantly—I have all sorts of wonderful friends who don’t make fun of me for being weird or for not having money. And that’s really nice.
Oh, and I laugh often and I am as goofy and silly as I can be.
What would your childhood self have written to you?