Seven years ago I sat down for a 4th of July dinner, ate an entire watermelon with a side of contractions, and stayed awake in misery for the next 26 hours until you were born.
From the minute I first saw you I knew that I was in trouble. Not only because you were painfully beautiful and fresh, but because I had not one single inclination of what I was supposed to do with you. I thought after waiting with bated breath for nine months I would have figured out at least the basics of how this new arrangement would work. Negative. The only thing that came natural to me was to stare at you. Stare in wonder about how I had grown something this magnificent. Stare in frustration that I felt alone and inadequate. Stare in disgust that something so small could make such horrendous messes. Stare in terror that I was the one responsible for this brilliant baby. After hating every moment of 9 months of pregnancy and willing myself to survive 26 hours of labor, I wanted nothing more than for you to go back inside my belly where I could protect you from the thing that scared me most in this world: myself.
We mucked our way through the first few months together. Your small body somehow consumed my entire bed. A metaphor for the next 7 years to come. Possibly the next 18.
You came everywhere with me. Work. Meetings. School. You had your own work station before you were one. You were passed around from person to person. Half of Boise held you while I ate. While I slept. While I took a few deep breaths. I still had no idea what I was supposed to do with you, but a million hands helped hold me up while I tried and failed. Tried and failed. Tried, and somehow got some things right.
You grew and so did I. We started to figure things out. We started to figure each other out. I realized that you just needed love, attention, and to win at something in order to make you happy. You realized I just needed sleep, coffee, and to not lose at anything in order to make me happy. Well, maybe you’re still learning a few of those lessons.
We laughed. We cried. We styled our hair in funny hairdos.
We welcomed your sister into this world.
Neither of us really knew if we liked her at first. She messed up our routine that we had just started to figure out. You wanted my lap back. I wanted my sleep back. Eventually, she convinced us she was worth it. You grew to love being a big sister. You had a built in, full time person to boss around.
You got a lot cooler the older you got. You developed more personality than I ever could have imagined. You were feisty and explosive. Eventually you were also kind and compassionate. It took longer to develop but it defined you in the end. Your hair got slightly better and your fashion sense stayed just as eclectic.
You wanted to experience all of life right at once. At the age of 3. 4. 5. No patience for tomorrow. No regard for rules or restrictions. You wanted to master everything you set out to do, and more often than not you did.
You experienced sports and your competitive nature found an outlet. You couldn’t believe you didn’t have to share the ball. You sped up your body enough that it slowed down your racing mind. You found a home.
You started making friends instead of enemies. You started taking deep breaths instead of screaming. You wanted to be around people all of the time. You wanted something to go and do every single night. You surpassed me in social circles. Your hair became really good.
And now here we are, my love. Seven years later and l still get lost in staring at you every single day. I am still held up by those hands, some of them the same and some of them new to us. I still have no idea what I’m doing. Here is what I have learned though. I have learned that my heart can stretch more in seven short years than I ever imagined possible. I’ve learned that I can never beat you at UNO, at least not without suffering some hideous consequences. I’ve realized that you and I were just fine all by ourselves. We are enhanced by those who support us but we eventually would have fought our way to the top. We had each other before we even found ourselves. I now know that sleep loses priority, sharing a bed with a baby is a luxury, and nothing is better than waking up to being your mom. I have learned there once was a girl named Evan Alyse who stole the hearts and minds of many. None more than my own. Happy birthday Evan.