Not everyone knows this, but the inside of a cardboard box smells like burnt corn and in the right light, appears more glamourous than Versailles. An old mattress is the most efficient form of transportation down a staircase. Sugar on crushed ice and chocolate on buttered bread are completely underrated snacks. Bay windows are just tiny stages. And the wicked wolf will never outrun your grandma on wheels.
My childhood, Evie. I get to share it with you. Every magical bit.
Not everyone knows this, but moving around constantly as a child, shaped me into the person I am today. Every new school was an opportunity to meet new people and learn their stories — hopefully gain a new best friend necklace or two. Even as a young girl, I recognized the importance of a smile and how slimming it made my oversized lips look. I learned that you make more friends the kinder you are and that the outcome of your day could rest solely on how you spent your recess. Perhaps, most importantly, I learned that laughing at yourself is just as important as not laughing at others. No one invites the mean chick over for slumber parties — and that’s where the good popcorn and first secrets are.
Make friends, Evie. Wherever you go. Be kinder than necessary and never hold back a smile. Change someone’s life — be that girl.
Not everyone knows this, but the first stroke of nail polish can change your life. Whether it be pale pink, shock your mama blue, or a butterfly painted in purple. Embrace your individuality. Seek out your own gorgeous beat. Never feel obligated to just follow along. Do what’s right. Be a leader, if you like. Be a friend, always. Be open to others, but be true to yourself. Paint the walls lilac and make up your own dances. And never apologize for staying in to read a book.
Be your own person, Evie. There will never be another soul like yours.
Not everyone knows this, but your father is a rockstar. In college, people would pack into sticky bars and sing along to my favorite piano man. His hair was longer. His smile, breathtaking. His words, occasionally slurring, but always lovely. I wasn’t the only person who fell in love watching him on that stage. But I am the only one lucky enough to have him sing songs to my son. And to you. Our own private concert, any time we would like. Your father is the love of my life. The singing is just a bonus.
Fall in love, Evie. Do it. Don’t fear a break or fall — when it’s real, you’ll know. Allow all the roses and jazz music to surround you.
Not everyone knows this, but traveling can open your heart in ways nothing else can. Seeing the world. Meeting its beautiful creatures and allowing your eyes to open wider than before, will change any dismal outlook you’ve carried. Take a chance. Don’t stay hidden in a familiar world. Get out there. Learn something new. And please, please, write it all down. Take all the pictures. Never forget, you can always come home.
Explore, Evie. This world is just waiting to know you. Be safe. Be smart. Send your mama postcards with travel puns or pastel colored houses.
Not everyone knows this, but there was a time when I was scared to follow my own dreams. Fearing failure or fallout kept me grounded. But even failure is a huge glittery stepping stone to success and quite necessary in this world. Be ambitious in this life — and never see it as a bad thing. And when you are ready to take a mighty leap and follow what your heart has been nagging you about, come chat with me, and we’ll celebrate with either pink lemonade or champagne.
Your passion, Evie. It’s a living thing. Unleash it. Never be ashamed of your dream. And look people straight in the eye when you talk about it.
Not everyone knows this, but your father was terrified to ask me to marry him. Not because he feared what my answer would be, but because he chose to ask me while on a shaky gondola in the middle of a Venetian canal. My first week of my big girl job took me all the way to Italy; your father accompanied as a treat. While I was mesmerized by Venice and its sparkling waterways, your father was reaching into his pocket, pulling out the object that would change my life and ultimately create yours. It was one of the best days of my life. Until I met your brother. Until I meet you.
Say yes, Evie. Let someone sweep you off your feet high enough that you’ll stay in the clouds together, forever. But wait until it’s right. Never settle. You deserve gold (on more than just your finger).
Not everyone knows this, but there is a gorgeous light hidden in every bad circumstance. Just like there are good people you’ll miss, there are bad people you’ll run into. And this, almost more than anything, terrifies me for you. Your father and I went through a very scary experience together, one that still haunts us today, but through it, I found you and your brother. Facing such a monster and almost losing it all, made me realize how important family was and how much I yearned for mine to grow. So, I have forgiven the man with the gun. And in return, I have been given gifts of unimaginable strength and clarity and unconditional love.
Forgive, Evie. Set your heart and spirit free of burden. Talk to God when it hurts the most. Believe that things will get better. And they do. I have you.
Not everyone knows this, but between meeting your brother and you, there was beautiful child we never got to name. We lost a baby in November; he or she was almost eight weeks old. The joy. The joy for another beautiful bundle was almost more than my heart could handle. But then, the pain. The pain of our loss never really goes away. But the following month, we found out about you. And that joy and pain, both returning with a fury, meant something different this time. And now we have this perfect angel watching over us. I talk to her constantly. We talk about you. And I hope one day you come to know her, too.
Grief, Evie. It’s there for a reason. We will be stronger because of it. Time helps. Prayer helps. And I am here, always, with open arms that ache for you.
Not everyone knows this, but I still have no idea how to be a mother. Sometimes I rock it. Often, I don’t. Doubting myself. Constantly. Excessive worrying. Constantly. Random dance parties. Not nearly enough. But I am learning something every day. Your brother has taught me so much. And I know there will be new challenges and triumphs followed by your glorious entrance into our world. I hope I make you proud. I hope you allow me to braid flowers in your hair and kiss your crusty toes and watch The Little Mermaid (again and again and again) and maybe, just once, wear matching unicorn shirts.
Please know that I will always be here for you — through ups and downs, new friends and bullies, bad eyeshadow, scary movies you thought you would want to see, the loves and the hurts, and the times you don’t mean what you said.
No one in this world will cherish you more than I do. And I plan on shouting it loud and often enough, so everyone knows it.