Dear Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

365 days ago you entered the world without a sound. I was terrified that you weren’t okay, but you were. You were perfect.

I didn’t know what to expect from motherhood. All I knew was that I couldn’t get enough of you. We’d just met but instantly, you completed me.

My whole life, something always felt like it was missing. I thought if I just made some new friends, I’d feel better. If just changed my major, I’d feel better. If I just transferred schools; If I just moved back home; If I just graduated; If I just got a job. Nothing filled the hole in my heart – until there was you.

You are the embodiment of pure joy. You are living proof of the love your daddy and I feel for each other. You are sunshine and smiles and everything pure in the world.

The night you were born, I told my sister that I couldn’t handle how much love I felt for you. She responded with something that stuck with me since: “Now you know what it’s like for your heart to beat outside of your body.” Truer words have never been spoken. You are a piece of me and that hasn’t changed just because you’re out in the world now.

There are many things about you that I love. At a year old, all you ever want to do is have fun. The world is your playground and you know no limits. You always want to laugh and when you do, you laugh with your mouth wide open so it’s as loud as you can make it. You know what it means to be silly and like to make us laugh. You give the sweetest hugs and say “Aww” as you lay your head on my shoulder. You tattle on your daddy when he tells you no or takes something from you. You rarely meet a stranger. You’re always going out of your way to grab everyone’s attention and give them a smile. You are so smart and you constantly surprise us with how quickly you learn new things. You babble your head off and genuinely believe we can understand what you’re saying. You’re not afraid of anything. When something frightens you, you’re curious to check it out and always end up conquering your fear. This is the quality about you that makes me the most proud.

Although I am not in any hurry for you to grow up, I look forward to your future to see who you become. I hope you never lose your sense of curiosity and your willingness to go with the flow and have fun no matter what we’re doing.

One day you may read this. You may be older and things may be different. We may disagree on things, we’ll probably argue. Life will seem harder but I hope you know that all I want for you are good things. I promise I will always try my best to protect your innocence and allow you to be a child for as long as you can. I promise to stand up for you and teach you to stand up for yourself. I promise to cheer for you when you’re brave and hold your hand when you’re scared. I promise to laugh with you and cry with you. I promise to support your passions and help you develop your creativity. I promise to hold you accountable and provide consequences for your actions so you learn to make good choices on your own. I promise to teach you the value of hard work and taking pride in anything with your name on it. I promise to be your mom and not your friend. I promise to love you no matter the mistakes you’ll inevitably make along the way.

I will raise you to know God, but some day you may question your faith in Him. It’s okay to be unsure but I want you to know this: Any doubt I ever had in His presence vanished the moment you came into my world. It was as if He handed you to me Himself in the delivery room. I will never question it again because I see Him when I look at you. You were sent straight from Heaven to show me what unconditional love really is.

It took me about six months to get through the song “You Are My Sunshine” without crying. What the song says is true. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you.

It’s been 365 days of challenges, triumphs, and questioning whether or not we’re raising you right. Just last night, I watched you pick up your baby doll, put her on your shoulder, and pat her on her back. I know we’re doing something right.

It makes perfect sense to me that your first birthday would fall on Thanksgiving. I’ve never been more grateful for anything like I am that I have you.

Thank you for changing my life.

Thank you for making me a mommy.

Here’s to another year of you.

Love,

Mama

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