To My Sweet Girl as You Turn One

all ready for school this morning. you’re just so perfect.

Oh, Evvie. My perfect girl. How in the world is it possible that you’re a year old already? I still remember the feel of you sleeping sweetly on my chest, blankets tucked up around us as the late spring snows came and went. Your tiny body perfectly still, your sweet breath puffing onto my shoulder, your soft wispy hair tickling my chin. I miss those days and weeks, but they’re so clear and present in my mind… a year ago? Really?

My precious light- straddling that thin golden thread between baby and toddler. So much more than an infant, yet I still want nothing more than to cradle and rock you. You’re our second baby, our last baby… and you’re barely a baby anymore. It breaks my heart- I just cant believe how the time has sped by. You were born, I fell in love with you, I blink my eyes, and you’re trying to walk and talk, feed yourself, play. I’m so proud of you. I am in utter awe of this amazing person and great beauty you’ve become. And yet my empty chest aches in the same place you used to curl up and sleep.

Today we celebrated by waking you up early with songs and pancakes. You wore your fancy new outfit, complete with coordinating headband, and you looked like such a big girl. For a few brief seconds I could see the young lady you will become. Your tshirt says “lovely” and oh, are you ever. You always will be. I had to take you to school but your teachers fawned all over you for a few hours before daddy picked you up super early. You got to have a whole day of just Evvie time at home- something you’ve never actually gotten to have! Daddy played with you and gave you what he describes as a “princess bath” which apparently means deep water and tons of bubbles. Sounds dangerous, but you adored it! I came home for lunch and we opened presents with you. We wanted you to have time to enjoy them on your own before your big brother could take over.  You got lots of hugs and kisses, tons of toys (including the flashlight Griffin picked out just for you), and a HUGE cupcake to top it all off. After your story tonight, you collapsed into bed. I think the day was a success.

One year in and I can already see just how different you and Griffin are. You’re both incredible, and having you both in my life adds so much humor and beauty. I love you equally and I am so thankful for the experience I have in raising you, both individually, and as a pair. You, like Griffin, are so uniquely yourself. You’re easygoing, quiet, and even tempered. You sleep like a rock- for 12 hours a night! Daddy and I can NEVER thank you enough for that. You’re already so loving, complete with pats on our faces, huge hugs, and big kisses, all given on your own. And you’re so smart. Amazingly smart! You got a little tea set for your birthday today, and after “pouring” yourself a cup, you kept pretending to take a sip! You love to laugh (especially at your brother) and once you get giggling, you can keep going until you’re short on breath. And even as little as you are, there is a grace about you- from the way you hold your hand up in front of you when we carry you around, to the way you smile demurely when you meet someone new.

One year in and you’ve got seven teeth, blonde silky hair that is forming ringlets in the back, and you try to repeat words I tell you like “dog” and “bottle”. You stand on your own and you’ll be walking any day. You love table food, but especially crackers. You HATE baby food with a white hot hate, and you try to smack the spoon out of our hands if we dare try to feed you. You love us all, but most especially your brother. And he adores you too. Your relationship makes your daddy and I feel thankful every day.

Like Griffin, you have an array of nicknames. We call you Evvie Lou (because your teachers think you look like Cindy Lou Who!), Princess Pea, Sweet Girl, and Matilda. Griffin still occasionally calls you Little Feets and daddy calls you Evvie Mae. Griffin calls you Evelyn too, although when he says it, it comes out more like “Ele-ven”.

It is interesting raising a girl, and not at all in the ways I expected. I feel a sense of duty to protect you from all the emotional suffering and insecurity I went through as a little girl/ young woman. I want you to always be brave, feel capable, and good enough. I want you to feel beautiful, yes- but also brilliant. I want to be sure that you know can be anything you want, and actually believe it. I want you to know that you don’t need to take anyone’s crap, that if they don’t make you feel good, they’re not worth your time and that the only person you owe is yourself. I can see already that you will grow to have a kind and sensitive heart- it is important to be good. But it is also important to believe in yourself. It took me much too long to get to the point where I was comfortable with exactly who I am- to love myself, flaws and all. I hope you just always see yourself the way we see you.

In those ways and many others, you have actually made me a better person. I want to be the best possible role model for you. I want you to grow up with a mama that is confident, that loves every second of her life, that takes risks, that isn’t afraid to show her emotions but is also strong. I think I already have those values, but you make me remember to show it, live it every day, reflect it in all my actions. I want to make you proud, the way you make me.

You and your brother are the best things that have ever happened to me. The last 3 years have been an adventure, the last year has been the best one of our lives. I hope each of your birthdays is better than the last.

all my love,

mama

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