Dear Wanda of 15,

First of all, I have to apologize for all my unkind comments I tell you.  That little voice that masquerades as me…well, you can tell me to shut up.  Sometimes fear gets into my head and does nasty comparisons.  Just ignore them.  This letter to you is very hard because in many ways, I haven’t changed.  We’ve stayed the same and I’m not sure that is a good thing.  But there are some wise words that I might pass on to you to make high school a bit more enjoyable.

Let’s talk first about what you really want to know.  The answer is No.  Unfortunately you never find out too much more about your adoption.  You will learn more, much more about your birth mother and eventually have compassion on her simply because you had kids yourself.  Yes you do.  Forgiveness does not happen in a day and only through time and the grace of God will it become clear enough for you to even entertain thoughts about her.

Tell God about it.  Scream at him.  Cry loudly.  Write long letters of hate.  He can take it.  Life is unjust and unfair.  It is.  But there is good.

Try to spend more time looking for the good in your situation than the bad.  There are other adopted children.  You were meant to be.  The sooner you embrace that the sooner you’ll be on your way to happiness.  You were meant to BE.

Do not fear Wanda.  You can stop looking over your shoulder or waiting for the ball to drop.  Your parents, they love you and so does your family.  But even better you make a great best boyfriend that you marry.  He will love you unconditionally.  Believe it.

Accept that somethings you will never know about.

Your birth father will remain a mystery.  Perhaps you at 50 will know more but for now, you have peace.

Your ringette team that won! You are front far left! Love the mullets…

And before you play volleyball this year go get a better bra.  Yes, it’s worth the extra change.  Your sports days will thank you for it.  The girls need to be braced in tight to run and jump.  You have to work hard to make the team but you do, and your little small town team goes big!  Enjoy!

The style of hair will change after you graduate and you’ll no longer have to get a perm. Yay!  Straight hair will take over and honestly for the last 23 years it hasn’t really changed.

The boys that you like right now are young and not interested.  Time to move on and stop dwelling on them.  One of them is still not married so you were good to shake him out of your system.

You are beautiful in your grad dress and thoroughly enjoy the graduation dance.  Enjoy the dance.  I know that mom and dad don’t approve, but they know that you had fun and were a good girl.  Big note, do NOT rip up the valedictorian speech.  I know it wasn’t the creative slam poetry that you wrote but remember that you live in a small close-minded town.  They weren’t ready for creativity.  So keep the paper that Mrs. K wrote so that you at least have some momento of that night.

The class predicts you will marry a farmer and have 5 kids.  They weren’t far off my ambitious lawyer wanna be.  And so much joy will come from your life that it can’t be described in words.  Sometimes prose comes close.  You’re not ready to hear about your beautiful children and your life on the farm, but I will tell you this.

Raising your family will absolutely be the most satisfying and important thing you will do in your whole life thus far.  Much better than the corporate career you dream of.

So, I guess you know that mom is sick.  In fact she’s got cancer.  I want to hold you when you hear the news but you will be supported.  Life will seem to spin crazy and upside-down and everything chaotic.  Stand on your rock.  Pray, pray, pray.  HIS peace will fill you supernaturally.  Ask her questions about your life and hers.  Cherish it and stop being a grumpy teen.  No regrets.

Lastly, please keep playing the piano.  Those fingers on the keys will be your way of salvation when you fall into the shadowy depths.  Music is your gift.  I know that you don’t have time to commit to hours of practice but perhaps spending less time fussing with the spiked bangs and a 15 minutes of Beethoven might do you good.  Biggest surprise, you will actually teach piano for a while.  Yes, and sing and play in church.  But in the privacy of your home the sounds of the past will lift your spirit and be a source of peace.

Be brave,  you are meant to BE.

Love, Your Self at 38

ps.  Sweet Valley High books are so far from reality it ain’t funny.  Stop reading them!

p.s.s.  You and T are still best friends.  Cool eh?

Wanda and Teresa – age 15 BFF