Dear 22 Year Old Me:

We were packing the living room, surrounded by a mountain of boxes, when she found it.

Her eyes lit up as she held the white fabric up for size. “Mom, can I try it on? Please.” My almost 13 year old was holding my almost 18 year old wedding dress buried deep in the entry closet.

I hesitated. Not for sentimental reasons, just because I’m task-oriented and it would be another pause in the long road of packing up our home for the pending move.

But I just couldn’t extinguish her shining eyes. And we needed a break.

I love times like these, the ones where I live in the moment.

I swallowed the lump as I zipped the back of my beaded dress.

Then she turned around:

Her Daddy could hardly speak. A flood of memories, doubts and fears, dreams and expectations assailed me. It was surreal seeing my child, so radiant, wearing my dress. The last day it had been worn was the day I committed my heart and future to her daddy, eyes brimming on the other side of the room.

I couldn’t help but think about that young naive girl so long ago. There are a few things I’d love to tell her today. I will share them with the my daughter standing in front of me when she walks down the aisle in her momma’s wedding dress one day …..

Dear 22 Year Old Me:

This marriage thing is going to be harder than you think. But it’s also going to be better than you could ever imagine. “Marriage is made in Heaven, but so is thunder, lightening, hail and tornado.” -unknown

The big stuff you’re worried about won’t really matter. It’s the little things you need to know:

  • Remember why you fell in love
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Kiss everyday for various and numerous reasons
  • Respect each other
  • Laugh when you feel like crying
  • Don’t fret the God stuff
  • Leave the past behind you
  • Lock your bedroom door
  • 40 isn’t old
  • One day your little girl is going to look amazing in your wedding dress. Breathe.

18 years ago today, we fell in love, after 3 years of being best friends. Remember when we “accidentally” kissed while hugging hello and then got married 10 weeks later?

Yeah, after all these years, I love you even more. The best is yet to come.


the 39.5 year old me


  1. 4


    so sweet! my daughter is 5 and hopefully she one day will want to try mine on! i’m 40 and been married almost 17 years and you’re note to 22 year old you is so true. its funny most people who really enjoy life seem to have a similar outlook. there must be something to that 😉

  2. 9


    Kristen, this totally made my eyes well up with tears! What a beautiful moment to be treasured! I have little girls. I also eloped with their daddy (7 years ago!) and don’t have a wedding dress. I struggle with feeling sad about that because I won’t have a moment like this, but that is really NOT what the moment is about, right? Thanks so much for sharing. I am a busy bee online and your blog is one of the few I can count on one hand that I still subscribe to and read each time. Keep it goin’ sister!

  3. 10


    Oh she looks so beautiful in that dress!

    Love your list of what you would tell a 22 year old. I especially like “leave the past behind you.” Very important!

  4. 12


    Oh wow. I’m crying. Love what you wrote and so wish this were me writing it. Divorce takes a lot away from you and moments like this are just one of them. I do hold on to the One that knows me and my desires and wants only what is best for me.

    By the way, your dress is GORGEOUS. Simply gorgeous. And your daughter looks amazing in it :)

  5. 14


    I am 41 this year and have been married 21 years. My daughter is 14. This post spoke volumes to me and it really inspired me to write a letter to my daughter. Thank you!!

  6. 16

    Courtney says

    How sweet!! She’s beautiful and I bet you were too the day you wore that! :<} That picture reminds me of a cute idea I saw on Pinterest (where else??? :<})- it was a 2 or 3 year old girl "wearing" her mother's wedding dress. Very cute!

  7. 17

    Tracey H. says

    How sweet was this to read today!! This is the big 40 year for me too, I somehow have a child entering high school and will have been married 20 years!! Whew, no wonder the tears have been flowing lately:0)

  8. 21


    Beautiful…. just beautiful.

    I don’t have a daughter yet… but I do have 2 AWESOME teen boys who are mighty men of God! Hallelujah!

    Kingdom Blessings,

    Janet Powers

  9. 22


    This is the best picture. It made me think about what my girls will look like in my dress, something I’ve never thought of before.

    Happy Anniversary K & T!

  10. 23

    Pamela says

    How beautiful she looks! Thank you for sharing this incredible moment with us. Yes, it is the small things like this that count. I remember my 17 year old trying my dress on for size. My husband and I will celebrate 36 years together next month. We met in June, had 2 dates and were married in Sept. You have only just begun, dear friend! Always enjoy sweet moments and memories as these<3

  11. 25


    I have no daughters- only sons. I can only imagine what this must have felt like. She looks beautiful! I saw you post this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and thought then what a fun moment this must have been! Good for you for soaking up this moment!

    And I LOVE this quote:
    ”Marriage is made in Heaven, but so is thunder, lightening, hail and tornado.” -unknown

    So very true. What I know about marriage today and what I believed about marriage when I was 21/22 years old are two very different thing.

  12. 27


    Lock the bedroom door. Yes, that’s a must! :)

    Beautiful post. My daughter would look beautiful in my wife’s dress. But then, I don’t think she’ll fit it. She’s only 12 and they’re already around the same height.

  13. 28


    Awww!! this is the sweetest! I have no daughter so I won’t be able to experience this (too bad :(). But thank you for those quick tips :). I wish you and your family all the best.

    How about a picture of you wearing that dress also? :)

  14. 31

    Molly Powell says

    Loved this! I just celebrated a 25 anniversary and it caused me to have so many of the same thoughts, looking back on good but at times surprising years. I just blogged about it too… What I thought I knew verses what I know now. But I don’t expect my 6’2 270 pound offensive lineman son to be trying on my dress any time soon! So glad to find your blog and look forward to reading more. Blessings.

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