You are so lucky. You have a beautiful little girl who will turn 1 in just 3 months and though you don’t know it yet, you are expecting your second child in 10 months. It will be a son and yes, having two babies before you turn 21 might sound daunting, it will never be too much for you. These babies will be the center of your universe for many years. Enjoy them.
Speaking of enjoying them, remember to play more and clean less. Remember to rock and hug and giggle with them and let the mopping wait. Go to bed when you’re tired instead of trying to do it all. “It all” doesn’t even matter in the long run. Being rested, healthy and being with your kids, that is all that matters.
The man you have catered to and been in love with most of your life isn’t going to be there for the long haul. As a matter of fact, he isn’t even going to be there for the short haul because you will be learning soon that he loves something much more than he loves you or his children. He will not choose you when you decide to force that choice for the well being of your babies and your own physical health. You will raise them, for the most part, on your own.
I don’t mean to scare you with this information, I really don’t. But when you are 25 you will look around and begin to assert yourself. You will stand up for your children and as hard as it is, you will do the right thing. You will leave that man and you will go through some very difficult days, months and years. You will do just fine in the end and discover just how capable and strong you are. You will be proud of yourself at some point, but there won’t be time nor energy for that for quite some time. Hang in there, it will all pay off.
When you turn 32 you will celebrate that birthday with your forever man. He is not the type you have ever dated before. He is unlike anyone you have ever spent more than a few hours with. He is the man who will walk through all the days of your life beside you. He will never be behind you, never lead you; this is the man who will always be at your side. Spend these years before meeting him getting yourself ready to be the partner he is looking to find, that’s what he is doing.
I want you to know that these are the days you will have a hard time remembering when you are in your 60’s because they hurt to remember and you will learn to erase the unpleasant and a lot of the pleasant will get erased along with the pain. That is sad, but it will help you cope with a lot of change. It will help you work through the two job days, the not enough food days and the loneliness of a failed marriage. No one will be able to help you through that loneliness; it has to be experienced while you grieve the loss of your dreams. The father of your children will not remain in their lives, but that will take a few years to happen, so for this time, I send you hugs and beg of you, enjoy every minute of this time with your wonderful husband and children, because when the changes come, they will be so hard to bear.
Also please know that the family that surrounds you now will always be there. When you decide to reach out, they will reach back. The in-laws, who seem to pull away, will be back. They do love you. It will be a long time before you allow yourself to believe that. You will not be close to them again, so enjoy them while you are part of their lives. You will be respected for your decisions and your demeanor. Let that be enough.
At 20 you are all you need to be. You are everything you want to be and your family is just beginning to develop. You are and should be very happy and very loved. Looking back from 62 to you, I know you are a good person and a devoted mama. That little girl in your arms is just about the only focus you can handle right now and that is exactly how it should be.
Oh, and 20 year old Jo, also know this; for all the hardships you will be facing, you will never for one second regret one of the choices you have made to this point in your life. You have done well.
Your future self