Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear 10-year old Jen

I wanted to give you an update, but didn't really want to talk about chemo. I am having a hard time this week and getting pretty sick of getting sick everyday. So instead of talking about fevers, puking, and laying around on the couch I decided to do a different kind of post.

Last week I turned 29 for the second time. :D And I thought it would be fun to write a letter to myself at 10 and then 20. So enjoy.....
Dear 10-year old Jennifer, (no one calls you Jen yet)

This is a big day for you. I know how excited you are about FINALLY reaching double digits, it is a big deal huh? I also know that you are a little sad today. You are currently in an arm cast and you are disappointed because you were looking forward to a rollerskating birthday party at Oaks Park. Instead you are having a pool party at your house. No swimming for you, which stinks too. Wish I could tell you that this will be the last time you spend your birthday in a cast, but it is not. You have a couple more epic injury filled birthdays in the next 20 years. So just get used to it, girl.

This is going to be an epic year for you for lots of reasons. First, you are going to get glasses this year. At first, you think that it's pretty cool. Partly because you think you look older and smarter with glasses on. But mostly because you had no idea how bad your eyes were and it is fun seeing the world the way God intended for you to see it. That excitement wears off quickly and then they just become annoying. The cuteness wears off quickly and for the rest of your life you will curse your crappy eyes. (No worries though, your husband will think that you look adorable in your glasses.)

This is your first year in student council. You are going to learn very quickly that you LOVE it. And it will be something you do for a very long time. Listen to the high-schoolers who come and talk to you about being a leader. Jennifer, you a natural leader and I want you to continue to use that gift. People will follow you, but make sure you are doing something that other people should be doing. Stand up for what is right and lead for the right reasons. You will get the chance to do some pretty cool things if you choose to lead the "right" way.

A teacher is going to tell you that you might just be a B student. That is going to crush you and you'll make up your mind right then to prove him wrong. I'm proud of you for all the hard work you will do over the years, but I want you know that you don't need to freak out about grades as much as you will. It won't matter Jennifer. Just do your best and learn for the pure joy of it, not for the grade. (You will struggle with this for years and years)

You are going to move once again this year. It is going to be very upsetting. You haven't really found great friends at this new school and you are scared about starting over again. But I have good news for you. You will make life long friends in that little farm town called Sherwood. It will become your home until you get married one day. It is going to be hard at first. You will have difficulty making friends. But I want you to remember what it feels like. You have a gift of compassion and an ability to make people feel good so remember what it feels like to be the new girl in school. Forever I want you to try and find people who look uncomfortable and make them feel welcome. God will use this gift of compassion you have for others again and again over the years. And don't worry you will find your place in this new school. Soccer will be the place where you finally fit in. You'll go from the nerdy new girl who lots of people made fun of to one of the "cool" kids next year. But DON'T become too cool for others, don't forget what it felt like coming home everyday and crying in your room. It will be easy to forget, and you will want to, but DON'T. God has some awesome plans for you and if you are too busy trying to be "cool" you will miss them.

Lastly Jennifer, this year you will get baptized. I'm proud of you because it is all your idea. You really feel like you are ready to make this decision and you want your church family to be there for you. Your Dad gets to baptize you, and it is a special thing that you two will have forever. You don't understand everything about Jesus, God, and your faith, but that is ok. At 30 you are still learning, but you know that you believe in Jesus and that He is your Savior and I love that kind of childlike faith. Just continue to love others the way that Jesus loves you, don't get caught up in rules, but remember the mercy and grace He gives you and show that to others. And don't become one of those kids who judge others, love them Jennifer. Love them because He loves you. Don't argue and get sucked into debates, it is not your thing. God did not give you the gift of debate, so just show people Him through your actions.

Lastly, continue to smile Jennifer. You have a HUGE smile and I know that you don't like it (and will continue to not love it forever) But it makes others feel good and I really think that God gave it to you for that very reason. You are going to start very soon having trouble loving yourself, your body, and your face, but just KEEP SMILING!

8 comments: said...

I absolutely love this Jen! So well written.
I'll be praying for you...
With Aloha,

Melissa said...

What a great idea! Did you grow up in Oregon? The mention of Oaks Park and Sherwood made me wonder, I grew up in Beaverton, outside portland and moved to Texas when I got married 9 years ago. Just wanted you to know I'm praying for you and your sweet family.


Amy said...

ack, this made me bawl like a big baby!

you know why??

because i know that 10 year old jennifer better than i know the 30 year old one! and what a sweet girl she was (and still is)!

Thanks for this post. not only did it help me remember back to the 10 year old jennifer, but i got to know the 'now' jen better, too!

Praying for you, jen:-)
and big hugs to you!

Jen McManus said...

Yes Melissa, I grew up in Oregon. We lived in Tigard and then Sherwood. We moved to the south after we got married over 9 years ago too. Funny world!

Amy: I don't want to make you cry, but I love how your family is a big part of my childhood. Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I don't know when you became just Jen, but to your family, you will always be Jennifer ! And we knew and loved every one of the day-old and year-old Jennifers! You are my first niece and I love you very much. (Still think you should be journaling so you can write a book someday LOL)
Love, Nana

Tigard Nana said...

Love, love, love this post. Praying for you. - Judy
(I could have done without hearing about your broken arm tho - guilt, guilt, guilt):(

Sara Price said...

I forgot to remind you of who I was the last time I posted. We met briefly at Pine Cove this year, we were one of the new families. I stood up and spoke about physical pain. I am from Oregon myself! Grew up in Coos Bay, got married there and moved to Eugene...then ended up in did that happen? :) I think of you often even though we met so briefly. The discomfort can take over your thinking, I used visualization, our brains are amazing. Create that 'happy place', create a healthy you, and put God smack dab in the middle of it, I used a picnic table. He and I sat together, sometimes I just layed my head on that table and sobbed, I didn't have the strength to do anything else. He comforted me and I allowed Him to. God does His work on the backside of the horrible.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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