March 21, 2016

A letter to Evie on her 9th birthday

Dear Evie,

Nine years. Nearly double-digits. It’s hard to believe that I’m writing to you again already.

Eight was great. You went to your first rock concert, you learned to snowboard, and you tried kayaking. You joined your first basketball team; I think you found your sport. You’ve become a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and you made a board game based on her books for a school project. You love Pokemon, Minecraft, and Phineas & Ferb. Your Harry Potter fandom is unabated, and I’m excited to take you to Universal Studios to buy a wand and taste Butterbeer.

You’re a good kid and a nice sister. Felix joined you at Excelsior Elementary this year as a kindergartener, and you always look out for him. Seeing you walk him to the bus stop, help him with his coat, and race to give him the first hug at the end of the day fills my heart. He thinks the world of you, and it’s easy to see why.

Also, Teddy and Rosie.

It’s surprisingly easy to look at you and follow the fine thread of my memory through your life, back to the parts you can’t remember. Baby Evie, who was always up for a road trip and would drink cold bottles from the fridge. Toddler Evie, who moved twice in one year and didn’t miss a beat. Preschooler Evie, who said things like “I love everyone in the world, even the people I don’t know.” That cheerful, adaptable, adventurous girl is now a good-natured 9-year-old who makes bracelets for her friends, loves big roller coasters, and can’t wait to visit China. 

Cooking class = fun.

It’s fun to be your mom, and I don’t expect that to change, even as we enter the tween years.

It’s beginning. Your favorite songs are pop songs that Daddy and I don’t recognize. Your requests to wear lip gloss and mascara are becoming more frequent, and although I’m not ready to let you wear makeup regularly, I’m excited to teach you how when it’s time. Our pedicure dates have been fun, and I might be a little too excited at the prospect of mommy-daughter Sephora trips.

I’ve seen darker clouds at the horizon, too. Sometimes, you feel things that are hard to explain. Sometimes, a word from a friend or non-friend wounds you. Sometimes, you realize how complicated life can be, and it breaks your heart. I wish I could give you emotional armor for your adolescence; I wish I could tell you that friendships last forever and life is fair and all stories end happily, but the best I have is this: You’re never alone. I promise to do my best to relate to you while honoring your unique perspective and emotions. You may not always want my advice, but I hope you’ll always be open to my love.

Lip gloss and pop music notwithstanding, you’re still a kid. A kid who collects Beanie Boo stuffed animals, who requests a good-night song from a porcupine puppet, who loves to play imagination games like School and House. Your bear, Teddy, is still your true BFF, and I have no trouble picturing you taking him to college (although he might need a few more trips to Grandma’s Animal Hospital for stitching). I’m starting to see you outgrow some of your childhood toys and interests. Barbie is long gone; My Little Pony is over. But you’re in no rush to leave childhood behind altogether, and for that I’m grateful.

We’ve been celebrating your birthday for 3 days now. Friday night, we had 9 girls here for a slumber party. You ate pizza and cupcakes, watched High School Musical, and had a dance party in the living room. 

So much fun. So little sleeping.

The next morning, you and your friends made bracelets and played Charades. Another friend’s sleepover party followed on Saturday. On Sunday, you needed a couple of naps to help you prepare for the family birthday party: homemade spaghetti dinner and Nutella chocolate cake from Daddy, presents and love from your grandparents and aunties.

That cake was so good, I wish I was eating it now
Today is your actual birthday, and you’re spending it at school. I’d apologize for that, but you enjoy school. I brought you Wisconsin Mac and Cheese from Noodles & Company (your favorite) and ate with you in the cafeteria.

For your ninth birthday, we got you a few really good chapter books, tickets to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Musical, and a Fitbit. I’m looking forward to competing with you (you’ll win), and to tracking our steps at Disney World.

Nine will be fabulous. We already have some great adventures lined up: The aforementioned Florida vacation, a weekend with our friends at Lake Pepin, a cabin trip with your cousins, three nights at Girl Scout Camp. You’ll keep playing piano and riding your bike and maybe you’ll try out for the traveling basketball team. And maybe we’ll pop in to Sephora. You know, just to browse.

Happy birthday, Evie. I love you so much.


1 comment:

Theresa Arnold said...

Happy Birthday, Evie! I'm very glad that you carry no scars with you from your earlier years!