Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dear Children: About that photo you found...

This is me. 
March 1998. 
Age 14.
I was traveling with a school group and without my parents.
This photo was taken in a bar in San Ignacio, Mexico. 
The fur ball on my lap is a rented chihuahua named Peaches. 

I have a feeling the chihuahua isn't the part you have questions about. 

You see, children, I had a pretty full life before I became your mother. I had my rebellious phase just like you will. I did things that I probably shouldn't have; things like hanging out at a bar in the middle of a foreign country when I was too young to even have a driver's license. Things like dyeing my hair blonde (look close... it's there and it's horrible). Things like watching movies that were way too grown up for me just because some stupid guy said I wouldn't and another stupid guy dared me to.

But it's not as bad as it sounds and it wasn't as bad as it looks at first glance. You'll never find any revenge porn of me. You'll never have to ask me about any photos showing me black-out drunk. This is because there aren't any. My questionable juvenile behavior went mostly undocumented in part because there wasn't all that much to document. This is probably the worst of it. 

Look at the table behind me, kids. That's a glass Pepsi bottle. Not beer. That was a choice I made. That chihuahua we rented? She belonged to the bartender's son. They were very poor and our Spanish wasn't great. We couldn't figure out the word for "rent" so we offered to buy the kid's dog for what would have translated to roughly $5 in US dollars at the time. He loved that dog, but his family needed the money. We were all homesick and looking for the comfort of a dog in lieu of being able to be with our own families and pets. When we were ready to leave town, we returned the dog, which we had named Peaches. The little boy offered to give us our money back but we refused to take any of it. We were rebellious, but not jerks. We weren't cruel. We wanted to do good things and to help people.

Children, if you can be rebellious without be destructive or cruel, and if you can keep goodness in your heart while you do it, go ahead an be rebellious. You've got my blessing. (Just don't expect me to remember that when you're neck deep in it.) Please remember that when I was younger, we didn't have social media. We didn't have cell phones with cameras. Most of us were lucky if we had a Polaroid that we used once in a while - mostly for family reunions or other parties. You may not have the luxury of keeping all your mistakes secret. Remember that when you're trying to decide if a mistake is worth making.

I love you,


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