Letter to my twelve- year-old self

Dear twelve-year-old Deborah.

You are about to embark on an outdoor adventure that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Your mom and dad are moving back to Alabama, and you will have the best two weeks of your life so far. Your love for the great outdoors is going to be so refreshing.  You will   meet a friend that loves the outdoors just as much as you do. He will be a true river rat. Your family will be homeless in a roundabout way; however, it will not feel like it. You will enjoy camping out on the river and watching barges run up and down the river hauling logs. You will enjoy fishing and running trout lines and watching the alligators on sandbars. It is always amazing that rest comes in unexpected ways, even as a young kid.  Most people do not realize that children need rest and relaxation just as much as adults do. You will even get to spend some time with your great aunt on the banks of the river while fishing. Those memories will be wonderful. 

All good things must come to an end and life continues to move in unexpected ways. Your two weeks of fun will fly by so fast, and then one afternoon your mom and dad will come back from town with the news that they have found a place to live. You will come to know later that life will never be the same. Yes, there will be good times as well as some really bad times. But you will grow and learn many lessons that you will need in the future. You will even look back and ask yourself, “why didn’t I run?” 

The first thing that you really need to know is that people will come and go in your life. You will experience heartbreak and you will experience extraordinary joy. Things will not make sense right now but later in life they will.  You will look back and see the hand of God protecting you even when you really did not know it at the time. You will have the measles and be in a car accident and will be standing in the median in the pouring rain, with God’s hand on you and your family. The police officer will tell your parents how close everyone came to be killed in that car. But due to your dad just stopping to fill up the fuel tank with gas there would be no room for fumes and therefore, the tank would not explode on impact. And one of my sisters will be standing up in the car between the seats and the other lying in the back window and they were not injured, that will be a miracle all by itself.