As a ghost, I would watch myself in the morning, caring for my 3-week-old, Sabrina, and my 2-year-old, Elise. I was happy that morning. It actually hurts to think how happy I was because so much pain was about to follow.
I can see myself making lunch and I know the phone is about to ring. Jake is about to call and tell me that he was sent home from work. He's going to come home. He's going to sit at the table and lie to me. For his sake, I will be calm. For his sake, I will hug and reassure him while he sobs over the injustice of it (as he makes it out to be).
But, no, the phone hasn't rung yet. I still see myself in calm, happy oblivion. I would like to stand close to that past self of mine and say,
"A storm is coming, but you will be okay.
Just be the honest and upstanding person you always aim to be.
You will make it to the other side, I promise."
As the phone rings, as I watch myself reach out to pick up the receiver, I want to give myself permission,
"It is okay to doubt him. It is okay to question him.
It is okay to be mad at him.
Trust your gut that he is not innocent.
You don't have to stand by him."
Mere hours after that phone rings, that past version of me will fear that she will lose her children. I want to reassure her,
"The few who doubt your good motherhood will quickly reverse their opinions. Everyone will agree that your babies belong to you and you to them."
As she shivers in bed with one arm wrapped around each baby, afraid that if she lets them go or closes her eyes they might disappear, I'd like to say,
"Sleep, sleep, you are safe, they are safe. Years of happy mothering are still ahead of you."
As she finally falls into a restless sleep, I would like to send her one last message:
"You fear losing your partner in life, but he never was the man you hoped he was. You will suffer pain and loss, but the hidden blessings will outweigh it all. In return you will gain self-confidence and strength; you will see friends and community more clearly; your connection to your children will be amplified; and you will find second chances for career and for love.
You will suffer and struggle, but you will also survive and thrive.
Each year will bring a stronger sense of gratitude for the fruitless life you were rescued from and the amazing life you were gifted with.
I just wish you could know this now and let it reassure you as the storm passes over."
Please share what you would like to whisper into the ear of your past self. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org