A Letter To Myself, 21-Years Later

Dear Me of 1995,
 
Well, today's the day. Today you will stand in front of friends, family to marry Doug Odell, your best friend. Yes, it's hot, yes, you're six months pregnant and would rather be in shorts and a t-shirt. You can change after the ceremony.
 
You're frightened you're making another mistake; after all, this is your second go at marriage and we both know how well the first one turned out. Hang tight. You made the right choice. 21 years later, you are still together. Oh, there have been ups and downs, but in the end the good far outweighs the bad. I know, I know, it sounds cliche. It isn't. Trust me on this. I've lived the life that is ahead of you. I know these things.

You've both come a long way. You started out newlyweds living with your mother. Now you have a house (rented). From one car to two cars. You were still in a major writing slump, and Doug worked as a projectionist at a local theater. Now you have a novel with an agent and are published over 60 times, and he owns his own game store. I know, right? Incredible!
Dignified store owner is dignified.
Dignified store owner is dignified.
Our first Internatiional Tabletop Game Day at the new location.
Our first Internatiional Tabletop Game Day at the new location.
Dragon's Hoard Games at Norwescon 201
Dragon's Hoard Games at Norwescon 2016
 
You have two sons, Ian and James. They are handsome, wonderful young men. Over the next 21 years, they will amaze, frustrate, and worry you in equal turns. Remember to keep breathing. They turn out okay.
Mom, we're trying to take a bath here!
Mom, we're trying to take a bath here!
 
Along the way, you'll find your writing voice again. You'll become a member of the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America), and attend Clarion West. You will receive hundreds upon hundreds upon HUNDREDS of rejections, and there are times you'll convince yourself you're a talentless hack. Those feelings pass. The thrill of an acceptance makes it all worthwhile.
 
You'll get tattoos, have a stroke, finally face a terrible truth and crumble under its weight. Both you and Doug will endure deaths in your families (Christmases will be very tough for the next few years), yet through it all your commitment to one another and your ability to talk, to truly communicate, with one another will see you through.
tattoo2 tattoo1
 
So, celebrate this day! Revel in the voices, music, and smiles. Enjoy the cake! And when all is said and done, when the last people have gone home, the happy bride and groom will stop at a McDonald's drive-thru on their way to the Edmonds/Kingston ferry and their new life together.
 
And you know what? You made the right choice.
us
 
 
Sincerely,
Me (2016)

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