Monday, March 30, 2009


Dear Madeleine,

You just turned 21.
The world is yours.
You know that.
You're ready.

You also know that these days of relative care-free living are numbered.
And so you number them.

The friends with whom you now live and have fun that is big, they will mark your life forever.
Each one making a track that you will revisit and turn over.
And over.

When you're 30.

And 40.

And 50.

And always.

Someday years from now you'll do something simple, like just shaving your legs
and a bit of conversation from these days will float into your brain and take you back.
Right back. To the days that are now.

You'll think back on the men that were boys.
One will be gay and doesn't know it.
But you will.

One is hiding a deep and painful secret.
You will know that too, but you'll never be told what that secret is.
Never.
And you'll live with that unknowing and nearly drive yourself mad trying to guess.
But you never will.

You'll think back on the women that were girls.
One will develop an auto-immune disease. It will be progressive.
And your heart will break each time you hear it's progressing.
And progressing.

One will spiral out-of-control into alcoholism.
You will not be able to save this person.
But you will try.

One will become completely self-absorbed and self-destructive.
You still love this person anyway.

Some will stay just the same and you'll fall out of touch and back in.
Over and over again through the years.
Each time one of you calls it will be like a blink since you've last talked.
Right back where you left off.
You will always appreciate this.

You'll feel guilty for your health.
Your happiness.
Your relative "bliss."
Compared to the others, you got off easy.

Don't fall into this trap.

The world needs the well-adjusted.

The world needs those that are happy.

The world needs those that are givers.

And lovers.

And caretakers.

And soul-lifters.

The world needs you.

9 comments:

Jerri said...

Happy Birthday Madeline, wherever and whoever you are.

marge said...

Beautiful Carrie. I am wishing young Madeline a very happy birthday.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wow. I can so relate to a lot of your words to this woman.

kario said...

What a lovely sentiment.

This girl is very lucky to have you in her life.

Wanda said...

Happy Birthday, Madeline. I love your name.

Michelle O'Neil said...

What a beautiful letter.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

Beautiful!!!! Got me all teary-eyed :)

Deb Shucka said...

Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. Wise and wonderful.

Nancy said...

I'm sure Madeline will cry as much as I am reading this. So very beautiful.