To Eva on Her 5th Birthday

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Ladyface,

You beautiful girl. I’m not really supposed to tell you that you’re beautiful because all of the how-to-mom books tell me that you’ll grow up believing that only your outsides matter, but your light is shining so bright it’s ridiculous to pretend I can’t see it. You have a happy face, kid, and I’m so glad that you share that joy with everyone. And no, you can’t have a makeup kit.

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Before you were born, I had a whole person in my head that I imagined you would be. I thought you were going to be a lot like me (but smaller) and instead you are your own you and you are so YOU sometimes that I look at you and I don’t even know where you came from. You are so social and outgoing and forgiving of everyone around you. At the zoo last week, a little girl pushed you off of the tiger statue so she could climb on it and you told her that you liked her dress and that she had pretty hair. She was so excited that she ran back to her mom to share your compliments and you got your tiger back. I would have bit her at your age. I’m so glad you didn’t. I don’t always understand how you can love the whole world at once but I’m glad you do. And no, you can’t have your whole preschool class over for a sleepover.

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I do worry about your squishy little heart, just because you give it out so freely and I know that someday somebody is going to step on it and you’re not going to know what happened. I would love to wrap you up and keep you in a safe space forever but I’ve already lost that battle a few times over. I didn’t think you were going to have allergies or asthma and then I didn’t think you were going to be able to push through that and find a new normal and I certainly didn’t think you’d cheerfully accept it and show us what strength looks like in little packages. I’m sorry for the tests and the hospital visits and the fact that we can’t have a dog, but I hope you’re proud of yourself for keeping your chin up. And no, you can’t have the huge aquarium we saw at the dentist’s office.

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I have lots of hopes for you and dreams about what you might become, but if you’ve taught me anything in the last five years it’s that you’re writing your own story and I just need to hang on and enjoy the ride. So I’ll just say thanks for the happy and we love you so, baby girl. And yes, all those presents are for you.

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Happy birthday, Evangeline Delaney Morgan.

Love, Mama

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