letter to myself

A Letter to Myself

I read a letter that Pete Sampras wrote to his “16-year-old younger self” the other day. He talks about how his life is just beginning, the difficulties he’s going to face, the triumphs, the defeats, the rewards, and the appreciation of the journey. He reminds himself to “play hard but stay true to himself.”  Reading this made me think about what I would say to myself as an innocent 19-year-old.

19 years oldDear 19-year-old Mikki,
You think you are heading to Washington University in the fall. Occupational Therapy program. Excited to be accepted. Anxious to start a new path. This is the right school. Third time’s a charm! U of A. Bust! University of Missouri-St. Louis. UGH! Washington University. Here we come! Not. You go to say goodbye to your good buddy, Jeff. Little do you know that he will put thoughts in your head about leaving St. Louis. You can’t sleep that night. You wake up in the morning. Anxious. Distracted. You HAVE to approach your parents. They will think you’re nuts. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And if you don’t do this, your WHOLE life will be different. You HAVE to do it. You tell your mom. You want to go back to ASU. “NO WAY!” You tell your dad. “If you can make it work. Go ahead.” Now you’re confused. But something is pulling you. You have to make it happen. You call Jeff. He sets things up for you. And several days later, you are off. Your life is totally about to change. FOR THE BETTER!

You live in the fraternity house for a week. Interesting. And then fate steps in. You spot some guy at a pool party. He has no idea. But you do. You tell your roommate. “I’m going to marry that guy.” One week later. First date. Three months later. Engaged. One year later. MARRIED. Fate. Reality. Love. Set. Match.

You think life will be roses and lollipops. But you are still in school. He will graduate early. He must get a job. Jobs are scarce. Little pay. So you move. Back to the midwest. Back to his hometown. And you change schools AGAIN. He will work for his dad. You think this is for the best. It is for a while. But your hearts are elsewhere. In the west. Tugging you back. So you will pack your bags and return. No place to live. No jobs. Life will be tough. He will take the bus to work. You will be a substitute teacher until something better comes along. You make it work. He thinks he wants to go back to school. Become an accountant. He gives it a shot. But nature stops him. He can’t cross the bridge. Rain. Floods. He misses classes. This is a good thing. Fate. Again. He was meant to be where he is. You will find this out later. Much later. It’s worth the wait. So he’s back in retail. Long hours. Hard work. But it’s his calling. His passion. He just doesn’t realize it yet. You finally get work as a special ed teacher. You will love working with the children. But it is short lived. You miraculously get pregnant, after being told it is impossible. You work through the pregnancy. But, lucky for you, you get to be a stay at home mom. And so your fleeting career is over.

You love being a mom. At the beginning it’s like playing with dolls. You love feeding, changing clothes, bathing, walking, even changing diapers. It’s all such a miracle. And then baby #2 comes along. Life will become a little more hectic. But you figure it out. Motherhood becomes you. It’s your dream career, so you aren’t complaining. You will have side jobs. Things to keep your personal identity. This is important for you. You will teach fitness. This will keep you in shape. It will also become an obsession. Not necessarily in a good way. You have that tendency. You just have to know when to curb it. You don’t. Fortunately, life steps in and slows you down. You will write cookbooks. As a ghostwriter. This is kind of a fluke. But it’s all good. Making your own money. Developing an identity outside motherhood. Twelve books. Magazine articles. Food stylist. So outside of your realm. But you learn. And grow. It’s good for you. Confidence builder. And then you burn. Time to move on. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You gave it a good run. You gave “her” a good run. And it’s time to move on. Time to focus on you. Another of life’s lessons.

You will spend a lot of time with your kids. A LOT of time! You help them with school work. You drive them from one activity to the next. You play the role of mom, teacher, maid, social director, chauffeur, cook, cheerleader, therapist, party planner, referee, and friend. You never know which role on any given time, day, or moment. Be prepared. This will last from birth to adulthood. Your competitive spirit comes out a little bit. You relive through your children what you never got to do. Your boys are tennis players. You cheer them on at every match. You are personally invested. You don’t need to be. They will be fine on their own. Take a step back. Breathe. Let them figure it out. Don’t try to micromanage. If they win, awesome. If they lose, it’s okay. It’s the juniors. It’s part of life. They will survive. When your oldest decides to just play for school, let him. He knows what he’s doing. He will enjoy the game a lot more. His focus is on college, future. Son #2 has a passion. Don’t push. Let him decide his path. It will be hard for you. It’s not in the “box.” But if you take away the dream, he will resent you. Your daughter. Loves her dance. Sometimes you love it more. Pom. Competitions. It won’t be her life. Let her enjoy the moments. Let her dance. Have fun. She’s not going to be on Broadway. Or become a professional dancer. It’s not HER dream. It may be yours. Give it up. Let her follow her dreams. Just let her enjoy.

School. All of the kids will be good students. But don’t push so hard. If they don’t get perfect grades. So what? Let them do the work. You don’t need to make it perfect. But you think you do. Let it go. It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do. Letting your kids just be. Letting them go and becoming their own beings. You can do it. You will be so proud years later. They will prove to you they can do it on their own. But you have to allow them to breathe. Make mistakes. Fall on their faces. Pick themselves up. You can’t always do it for them.

You and hubby will go through many a bumpy road over the years. Financially, emotionally, mentally. But hang in there. Every struggle brings you closer together. At the time, it feels like the world is coming to an end. You think you are the worst mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister. You think everyone would be better off without you. But stick it out. Believe in yourself. Seek out the positive. The blessings. They are hiding behind the darkest clouds. Little by little you filter through. You and hubby always have your foundation. Your love. But instead of taking you back to the beginning, you go someplace better. Someplace stronger. You build. You trust. You share. Life together just gets better every day.

Kids grow up. They leave home. They begin to build their own lives. You are an empty nester. But you are okay. You keep yourself busy. You and hubby travel more. You love spending time together. At home. Away. It doesn’t really matter. You love filling your house with kids. It doesn’t happen as often as you would like. But they are building their own lives. You are trying to accept that. You learn that living without expectations is the best way. No disappointment. It is hard. But you keep on trying. You hope that someday they will want to come home. You try to build traditions. That is important to you. You will try to instill these values so they can pass them down to their families.

You are a homebody. You try to be more social, but it is just not your thing. It is hard for you to go out in big groups. You crawl into a shell sometimes. Try to crawl out. You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be heard. You just don’t always believe it. You have a great person by your side. He supports you. He believes in you. He pushes you to do better. You don’t always see it that way. But those are his greatest intentions. He only wants the best for you. He loves you. He wants you to shine. He wants you to grow. He wants you to believe. And he is somehow preparing you for the future. A future you don’t see coming.

To be continued…

19 years old 2

Mikki Eveloff

I am certainly no princess, but I did marry my Prince Charming. We had the once upon a time and the “almost” happily ever after until August 30th, 2014 when my Prince Gregger died tragically on the beach in Maui. I believe in fairytales. I believe in fate. I believe that “everything happens for a reason.” We planned a lifetime together…75 years to be exact. Someone or something changed our plans and gave us a new “ever after.” So here I am. I am still a wife, but now they call me a widow. I am a mom and grandma…three children, two in-laws, and two grandchildren. Life has changed and it’s time to move forward. It doesn’t stop, it keeps on going, so I do too. It’s my choice. Be happy, be grateful. It’s the only choice. I have a treasure trove of memories to share..it’s how I keep the happily ever after alive. A True Love Fairytale is 40 years of memories…it’s the essence of our happily ever after. It’s the imperfections of our perfect marriage. And it’s what makes today beautiful.

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