I'm a lover of words, coffee and tequila. Lucky to be living my happily ever after as a wife and mom to two sweet kiddos and one crazy dog.

Letters to myself...

Dear Justine at 5, 

Play in the sandbox and enjoy your nap-times. When your mom drops your birthday cake on the floor & the dogs eat it? Spending time whining about this is only going to make your ice cream melt faster-but eating melted puddles of ice cream with your first best friend is almost as good as cake. Someone is going to tell you that you can't play legos with the boys...just ignore them. This getting along better with boys thing is going to be a life long trend. 
Also--- calling 911 like you talked about during circle time? This doesn't go over too well with Dad. Or the scary looking police officer that shows up at the door. So don't do it. 

  Dear Justine at 12,
          Let's be honest with ourself're a little awkward. I promise you there will come a day when you will look back and giggle at your fashion choices and baby fat. There will even be times in the future where you'll consider yourself to be rather pretty. You will find a boy who is willing to kiss you. More than one, in fact. None of them will look like Leonardo DiCaprio. Chances are, you will never be a famous actress or a writer of successful historical fiction romance novels. But keep dreaming big- reality isn't all it's cracked up to be. Also- you are living in EUROPE. Take a few extra moments to soak that in, will ya? You're going to be embarrassed when you see the photos of you sitting bored to tears in the Louvre & hear stories of how you were mortified by the "naked" statues. This is once in a lifetime if you're lucky kind of stuff- enjoy it. Be a kid. Life goes too fast, trust me when I say- don't rush it. 

Dear Justine at 14, 

Oh high school. Painful & fabulous, all at the same time. Enjoy your friends. The good ones? They're going to stick around for a while & you will be so grateful to have that connection to your past. Enjoy being carefree- you may think you've got problems...but you don't. Toxic friends- just get rid of them. Trust me when I say it isn't worth the drama. Pretty soon, you're going to get that first kiss that you can't stop obsessing over. I wish you would listen to me when I tell you not to rush your innocence, that there is something special about never having been kissed, giggling & day-dreaming about senior boys that don't know you even exist. Also, when all those teachers are blabbing on about time management, I suggest you LISTEN. Your future self would be eternally grateful. 

Dear Justine at 15,
Here it is..the big "first love". It is going to be intoxicating, terrifying and consuming all of your thoughts and time. He's a great first boyfriend- but someday you will understand that he wouldn't have been such a great last boyfriend. Enjoy each other, but don't forget the important people in your life. Coming crawling back to neglected friends is embarrassing- and nobody wants to be that girl that is so obsessed with her boyfriend she has no time for anyone else. Be nicer to your parents. I promise they aren't trying to ruin your life. Someday you will be ashamed of the way you behaved towards them. But mostly, you're a really good kid and it's imperative that you remember that. Grades are important- but stop staying up until 2 am studying for Brit Lit tests. Your parents won't ACTUALLY disown you if you get a C. Remember that time management thing I mentioned- now would be a great time to try it out. 

Dear Justine at 18, 

I know you are really disappointed about going to UNH & you think you are going to be miserable. You're not. In fact, there will come a time  (or two...or twenty) when you are going to be VERY glad you aren't all alone in Boston, up to your ears in college loans. You're going to meet some of your very best friends here. Don't waste your freshman year waiting for your boyfriend to call. Don't stay in when he asks you to. You're not going to be able to get this time back- but you'll wish you could.

Dear Justine at 19, 
This is the year you will meet and fall in and out (and in and out and in and out) of love with the boy you are going to marry. You will finally start living the college experience. You will do lots of stupid things in order to learn some smarter lessons. You will say goodbye to a very important person & it will turn your world upside down. Remember that first boyfriend? Be kinder to him than you might want to. Growing a backbone might do you some good as well. I would love to remind you of your self-worth & convince you that you don't need to fill that void your love is going to leave when it crosses state lines & fades away for a while with meaningless people &  things- but that's something you are going to have to figure out for yourself. 

Dear Justine at 21, 
You are in love with someone who will disappoint you, surprise you and challenge you. It may not always be a smooth ride- but those moments when you dissolve into giggles together, when a whole conversation is had with a will all be worth it. Hold onto those moments- sometimes you'll need the reminder of them to stay warm & true. And through it all? He will be your best friend, like always.
In nine short months, you will  meet the person who will change your life. Nothing went as you might have planned it, but I promise you a year from now...two years from won't even matter. Because whatever brought you to her...brought her to will all be worth it. Every time you fall & think you can't possibly get back up? You will. That self-worth you've been missing- she fills you with purpose, respect and above all, love. It is like there is an invisible line like a paper cup telephone between you, whispering your thoughts back and forth- she loves you completely, knows you completely- and hasn't even said a word. You are blessed.

Oh..and that time management thing I kept bugging you about? This is about the time  it comes back to kick you in the you know where. Just sayin'. 


I love(d) college....

A quarter century