Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Self:
Tear yourself away from your busy social schedule of hanging out at the pool hall with your best friend for a minute, and check out that guy over there. No, not the one with the mullet ... dear God ... the other one. That tall, lanky boy with the Nike baseball cap on. See him? His name is Curtis. He's going to be your husband.
Even better? You're going to raise four sons together.
No wait, don't run away! I'm serious! Yes, he has something in his teeth, but watch him for a minute: he has an irresistible confidence about him, doesn't he? Like he doesn't even realize he's a lanky boy with something in his teeth? Yes. That confidence will serve him well later in life. And it will be one of the things you love and admire most about him when he becomes a man.
Now, about that ... this "becoming a man" thing ... keep in mind that you both have a lot of maturing to do. (I mean, you still have a smiley face poster on your wall and carry a sparkly wallet that says "Porn Star," for heaven's sake. And don't pretend you don't still sleep with your teddy bear.) You will put each other through some hell before you grow up. But you will stick together, working diligently through problems that most people would walk away from. Because you're both stubborn - but more importantly, you'll love each other from a depth that won't allow either of you to let go.
I know, this is a lot to take in, and you don't believe me right now. But trust me when I tell you that you will also experience some of the most amazing adventures of your life with this boy. You'll take an impromptu weekend camping trip that turns into a week - and only stops because your tent floods. You'll beam brighter than the Texas sun when you see him in uniform for the first time at his Air Force Basic Training graduation. You'll move to a foreign country with no idea what you're doing. You'll take in the awesome sight of Paris from the Eiffel Tower (and have one hell of a time getting home later that evening, when he accidentally pumps the car full of diesel fuel because he can't read the French gas tanks). You'll run through Heidelberg at midnight on New Year's Eve, dodging firecrackers and beer bottles. You'll experience Las Vegas as a local. And you'll know the pure, overwhelming joy of witnessing the birth of your children - not once, not twice, but four times. (Okay, so he'll do a little more witnessing and you'll do a little more pushing, but you get the point.)
Today - April 22nd, 2013 - is your thirteenth wedding anniversary, and trust me when I tell you how lucky you are. This boy will become a diamond in the rough. He will need a little polishing (and so will you, cupcake), but time and experience will take care of that, and you will hold on because you'll see the potential in each other even when you don't see your own. He'll grow into the kind of husband you have always wanted, and the kind of father every woman dreams of for her children. You'll appreciate and understand each other like no one else does. I'm not saying there won't be times when you want to wring his neck, or habits you reeeeeeeally wish he'd ditch, but you will love him - habits and all - to an unbelievable degree.
And best of all, he will feel the same way about you.
So go over there, okay? Say hello to him. Because right now he may just be a headstrong kid (and that gold chain around his neck is just a phase, thank goodness), but ultimately ... he'll be the best thing to ever happen to you.
Oh yeah, and seventeen-year-old me?
Grow your hair out. Seriously.