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A Letter to Me ...

Dear Mandie,

In exactly 10 years from today, you will still be crying; thanking God for this amazing blessing in your life. The transition from a teenager to womanhood will be nothing like you expected, but you will be glad you didn't miss a minute of it because it made you strong as hell. But as for those plans you had... Let me explain...

You will surpass your goal of just making it to your high school graduation; you will graduate college and start your own business. Surprisingly-you will not be the first Latina Athletic Trainer in the NFL, instead you would become a chef. Your interest in the human body after a sports injury will change to an interest in food and how it affects the human body. You will use your knowledge and talents to help yourself and those around you.

You will hate high school but those bullies would learn that you weren't weird and fat you were mature and on steroids. Until someone has to fight for their life like you had to, they can't truly understand why homecoming and what you wore to class wasn't important anymore. But you did learn what it meant to be and have real friends and your high school coaches would become your real friends.

Plus as time went on you will figure out that you didn't just interview for your first job that summer before college; you would interview to meet your best friend. She would not only teach how to gift wrap she would teach that there is someone crazier than you but understands you more than anyone else. But this is just one of the many people that would change and impact your life. People will come and go from your life. After a long struggle you will deal with loss of people you love and the appreciation of the new people you will meet. You will never get used to hearing people say how much you impact their life cause you still can't find enough words to tell them how much they impacted yours.

Such as your mother. 10 years later she is still your everything. You will have your rebellious years with her but finally around 23/24 you will realize that she just wanted the best for you and you don't know everything just because your 20 years old and graduating college. Speaking of not knowing everything, you will finally find a balance in your sisterly relationship with Melody but she would also find your weakness.... Having an amazing little girl named Lola. You still don't have the desire to be a mother but you're going love being an Aunt. It will make that rough and tough exterior melt away and give you an excuse to still watch My Little Pony in your mid 20s. A few years later you will also have a nephew names Jr; which means someone to play in the mud and watch football with.

Within in the next 10 years you will go through an emotional roller coaster with your dad. You still and will always love him dearly.  With time and work, your relationship does get better. You'll learn that you and him are very much a like and both works in progress. Which reminds me about the men in your life... fortunately you are not married to your high school sweetheart. Instead, you will come to terms with your sexuality and your love life. You will learn to love yourself first. You'll figure out your self-worth and patiently wait for someone who is truly worthy of all you have to offer. Plus some of those cool older cousins that you wanted to hang out with so bad will become your best friends too and will have a strict screening process for your future significant other. It's funny because even as you meet potential people in your life, their voices will be in your head even though they live in different parts of the country--and even on a different continent.

Right now you're thankful to begin this journey to leave that hospital in a few days and go home. Amazingly, you and Bob will do more than that; you get to travel to many places around the world. You'll go back to Jersey to see your family and you will Make a Wish to take your mom and sister to the Bahamas to swim with dolphins. You'll make your first adult decision to go to China and study abroad during the summer. You will also travel to Puerto Rico, Washington DC, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles to name a few.

You'll still feel like 'thank you' isn't enough to say to all the people who have been there over the past 10 years. The family, friends, doctors, nurses, coworkers, teachers, coaches,  and strangers. All of them who been there and prayed for you and your family over these past 10 years. Each one of them will all impact and change your life in some way. I guess you just continue to say thank you and you are forever grateful.

As you see, a lot will happen in 10 years. You will reach your goals and continue to make new ones. You stop asking "why you" and start to say "why not you". You will continue to accept and appreciate what God has given you. You may not believe it, but you turn into this amazing beautiful young woman with a voice your aren't scared of anymore. Kid, all I can say is--you stop saying "A Heart for Amanda" and start saying "A Chef with a Heart".

Amanda DeJesus

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