I have come back for you. I know you. I am you. I love you.
You don’t know, at ten, what you will know at seventy, that you are lovable, capable of loving others. At ten you only know rejection by your birth parents, by your adopted alcoholic father and your angry mother, by kids who ridiculed you as they called you Cheryl the Barrel, by nuns who stole money from you and lied to your family.
You don’t know at ten that the rejection, with all of its limitations, will be the building blocks for you to stand on as you grow into a woman with resilience. The limits that were set pushed you farther into books, into the library, into a fantasy land where you were safe. You didn’t know, on your sixteenth birthday, the day you got your first job, that you would learn how to navigate a world you would live in for 50 years, years to develop wisdom and gratitude.
The building blocks that you toiled under at ten taught you to be a lifelong learner, to push past the restrictive beliefs of adults in your neighborhood. You stood on those blocks to raise yourself up out of a life of fear. Those blocks became the foundation of a life of success, caring, and ultimately, a pursuit of what you wanted a ten, to be a writer.
The books, the bravery you want at ten are what you will enjoy at seventy.
You will be loved, by family, friends, animals. You will love. You will develop strength and stamina.
You will be Cherished Cheryl