March 21, 2008

A letter to Evie on her birthday

Dear Evie,

Happy Birthday!

You can’t read this yet, but I have so much that I want to say to you.

It doesn’t seem like a year ago that you came into this world, but I must have blinked, because you’re turning one.

I remember all the surprises that came with your arrival. I was surprised at how tiny you were, how you didn’t really look like either of your parents, and how you changed everything about the world from the moment of your arrival.

There were a few tricky weeks when we had to figure you out, but we all adapted quickly. You wanted to sleep in your own crib from the very beginning, but you hated being put down when you were awake. You loved your swaddle blanket, your green Soothie pacifier, and riding in mommy’s sling wherever she went.

I’m sometimes embarrassed to tell other parents what a great baby you have been, because it’s never been difficult to be your mother. You started sleeping through the night on Mother’s Day – how appropriate – and have never looked back. Whenever it was time for a transition – abandoning your swaddle, splashing around in the big bathtub, eating grown-up food – you let us know that you were ready.

You are the most gorgeous child I’ve ever laid eyes on, and you’re growing lovelier all the time. You are simply perfect – my little Gerber baby, delicate and beautifully proportioned. People stop us in stores and airports to compliment you, and you always reward them with a big two-toothed smile.

This year has included so many exciting leaps forward. You grew from being a sleepy newborn to a charming, playful, and irresistibly sweet little girl. You haven’t walked quite yet, but you’ve crawled, stood up, and you may have even said your first word just yesterday – a perfectly timed "Uh oh!" after dropping a piece of banana. You use sign language to say "More," turn at the sound of your name, and clap your hands when we applaud you – which is often, considering all of your accomplishments.

Although you’re playful and curious, you’re a mellow kid – content to hang out and observe the world from a distance, or to pick up shiny objects and examine them carefully. You’re tempted by cat food, remote controls, and Mommy’s glasses, but the frustration of having these treasures taken away quickly subsides when you find something new to catch your attention.

You love to travel, and have already taken four airplane trips in your short time here. The new people and places are fascinating, and you always adapt to changes in your routine better than we have any right to expect. Your family adores you, but you know that already. It breaks my heart that you only get to see them a few times a year, and I promise you that this will change soon enough. It’s simply not fair for you to live so far away from your most adoring fan base, because you deserve to be surrounded and overwhelmed by love every day of your life.

In the meantime, I love you more than you can possibly imagine, and I have a lot of evidence suggesting that your daddy does too. Even the cat, Oedipa, treats you with an unexpected level of respect and consideration, despite your attempts to grab her and bonk her on the head.

It makes me a little sad that Evie, the baby, is gone, and I’ll never have her back. I loved that baby so much that it hurts. But when I look at you today, I realize that Evie, the kid, is even better. It fills me with so much happiness to know that your whole childhood lies ahead of us, and I get to share it with you. I love the person that you have become this year, and I’m so excited to meet the person you are continuing to become.

Happy Birthday, Evie.



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