March 28, 2012

A letter to Evie (almost) on her 5th birthday

Dear Evie,

Before you were born, I promised us both that I would use my blog to document the precious and fleeting days of your childhood. I'm not a scrapbooker or an artist, but I'm fairly confident in my ability to type words onto a screen - so these sporadic and heartfelt posts are my answer to the lovely baby books and handprint art that your classmates' moms are surely making as we speak.

I blinked, and 5 years passed. Already, I wish that I had written more.

I can still clearly remember that day in 2007, the day that started with Jack in the Box and spilled coffee and ended with champagne and Dairy Queen. I remember just how it felt to be in labor (ow) and just how it felt to hold you for the first time (wow). I remember being surprised at how tiny you were, at your bright red birthmark, and at how difficult it was to call you by your name when you'd been Rasbaby for so many months.

We joked that you were the sort of baby who tricks her parents into having more babies, lulling them into a false sense of security until a more difficult phase (or sibling) shows up. None of this proved true; you were an easy baby, but there was no trickery. From the moment you entered this world, you were agreeable and cheerful, loving and adaptable.

We tested you, again and again. When you were two, we packed you up and moved halfway across the country, away from everything you knew. We settled into our townhouse and put you in a Montessori school you loved, then introduced a baby brother and uprooted you again. Each time, you responded with the same good-natured optimism that you bring to everything.

I can't believe I ever worried about whether you'd enjoy being a big sister. It's the role you were born to play. You are completely enamored of Felix and often tell me that you'd like to live with him forever, bring him to college with you, and so forth. The feeling is mutual; most mornings, the first word he says is "Vevie?" It warms my heart to see the two of you walking hand-in-hand, splashing in the tub together, running back and forth across the living room, or cuddling on the couch watching Backyardigans.

These are busy days, and I often wish I had more time with you. You're at swimming lessons right now, after a 10-hour day at school, but you wouldn't have it any other way. I look for little chances to spend quality time with you - like our four-day spring break next week, and our occasional mommy-daughter dates at Caribou Coffee or the Mall of America.

I know I'm not a perfect mom, but your father and I must be doing something right. I am so proud of you, Evie, for the girl you are and who you're becoming. You're smart, funny, and above all you're kind. You see magic everywhere in the world. You love people you don't even know. The first words you learned to write were: "Evie loves Mom, Dad, and Felix" and almost every day you draw pictures captioned with permutations of these words.

This fall, you'll be starting Chinese immersion kindergarten. It sounds like the perfect place for you, my little girl who's up for anything and curious about everything and ready to fall in love with the whole world. I can't wait to see what adventures lie in store for you, and I'm so grateful that I get to be your mom and share them with you.

Happy belated birthday, sweet baby girl.


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