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Oh, did I mention that it was going to be a letter by ME to ME for MY birthday? I figured I was so far behind on birthday letters for the kids that I might as well start the birthday year with me. I’ve never had a birthday letter before. I’m curious to see how it’ll turn out.

Dearest Self,
You are now 36 years old? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What is it cracked up to be anyway?  Do you remember making fun of Teresa when she was 36 and you were 16. You thought it was oldies music, she did not. My kids call me old school, I say the 80’s music will live on forever. Go Bon Jovi! Don’t let your teenage son tell you otherwise. After all, he can be found belting out 80’s music right along with you.
Did you know you’d have four children by now? Actually, I think you thought you’d have the picture perfect family with several musical children. Each one would be polite and be able to sing all the songs from The Sound of Music. You also thought you’d be as wonderful as Mary Poppins. Oh, and you would have if only you would’ve found the right chimney sweep to hang out with.
I want to give you some advice, but since I’m you I don’t know that I’m qualified to do that. Too bad I can’t talk to my 19 year old self that thought she wasn’t worth waiting for. She thought she’d be alone forever. Or maybe if I could talk to my 17 year old self and tell her than no boy is worth throw your walk with Jesus away, even if was only for a summer. Oh, or what about when you were 18 and that man was so handsome and persuasive and now you can’t even remember his name. It didn’t seem like a big mistake back then…well, it did but only a few people knew. Who knew it would haunt you 18 years later. Really, I’d love to go back to my 9 year old self and just love on her. The fact is that I’m not good on loving little girls, though.
Hey, just think about how much better this year has been than those in the past. Remember 2 years ago when you were driving home from a church retreat on 5 Rock Ranch? Yeah, you had to pull over at the bowling alley and projectile vomit. Some of it didn’t even get out the door. That was so embarrassing. Or the year when you turned 19 and ALL your friends and your dad forgot your birthday. This year I had a few friends over and I didn’t have to plan anything. (I did have to do a major clean up before that, but it was worth it.) The kids were giddy over the fact that they were getting cake and ice cream for dinner. Then they had sandwiches for dessert. General and Lennox were really good to you. Don’t forget that.
Hey, good job for not letting this be your fattest year ever. Let’s leave the fat behind, ok?
Oh, and hey great job finishing that marathon. How about you get off your hiney and start running again. Push through that pain.
Finally, don’t let your kids grow up too fast without you taking the time to enjoy them. Tell the stories. Photograph them, journal them, celebrate them.


Darlene Bethene Branson Taylor

P.S. Please try to do something with your hair and eyebrows.

Any other thoughts out there that I might have missed?