Do you ever wonder what a younger version of you would say about who you are today?
Sometimes I imagine it in my head: a very small Whitney (five years old at most), clinging tightly to her favorite American Girl Doll and staring up at me with bright, blue eyes. Her hair is blonde as can be, thick and short, with bangs cut straight across. She is beautiful, but a worrier... she always has been.
I tell her who I am and she smiles. I hope she would think I am pretty, I remember worrying so much about that when I was younger. I think she would be amazed at how dark I dyed my hair, at the chances I took with my personal appearance.
I can see her asking about my life. She asks first if I have found my prince. In this fantasy we are sitting in younger Whitney's room, covered in Beauty and the Beast posters. The movie has just come out and it is her favorite. I look around, admiring the clean, organized room. Mary has not been born yet, she is safe in my mommy's tummy.
I tell her frankly, no, I have not met him yet. This doesn't phase her. She asks if I am going to college, like daddy is. Am I going to ASU like him? I smile and tell her I am all done with college, that I am done with school. I watch pride fill her countenance.
"How old are you?" she asks in her quiet, shy voice.
"I am almost 23," I respond, taking note of every gesture, every word she says. She is such a beautiful, loving girl.
I then tell her about Make-A-Wish, which is hard for her to understand, apart from I help children in my job. I tell her I love what I do and that seems to please her. But her favorite part is hearing about Ellie. She had to give up her favorite dog, her best friend (Honey) a year ago to live in a new place. I tell her Honey is safe and happy, though I am partly lying. I can't bear to break her little heart.
Before I leave this fantasy and return the reality of 2011, my cubicle and my little life, I need to ask her something else.
"Are you proud of me?" I ask, tears welling up in my eyes.
But Whitney doesn't say anything. She just smiles and hugs me tight, and I disappear with her warm embrace forever imprinted in my mind.
What would the younger you say to you?