Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dear Evans (4)

Dear Evans,

You are 4! This year has brought on many changes.

In February, you switched schools. Your "Baby School", as it is referred to by you, brought us some unforeseen obstacles that we felt it best suited to change childcare homes. That was hard. You'd been at Baby School since, well, since you were a baby. Around 10 months old. Everyone knew you, and you knew everyone. It really was our home.

I had all the normal mommy anxiety about the new school, plus some extra Ashley stress therein sprinkled. Was it safe? Would you like it, would you make new friends, would the teachers be friendly, would you feel loved? Would the kids be nice? Would you fit in? Would you learn, would you thrive? Would you engage? Would you just get to be you? Would it be home?

You handled the abrupt change without the slightest of hiccups. I was SO proud. You marched right in that new school on the first day, head high and hardly noticing me leaving. Of course, you still asked about your old teachers and friends at Baby School, but you were making new pals and learning the ropes on the new playground. You were doing your thing, being Evans, my little girl, big on life.

Around that same time, Daddy and I sold our first home in Atlanta. The condo. It was an odd feeling going back to the condo, readying it for market. Opening that front door, we were taken back to a time in our lives when it was just Daddy and me. A time we had only hoped for you to come along one day. Selling that first place was bittersweet. To some extent it was a last goodbye to pre parenthood life. Goodbye to days of sleeping in, ordering more delivery food than I'd like to admit, watching countless hours of Braves games, and meeting friends for dinner at the last minute any random night of the week.  During our last seller walk-through, I could still see and hear each one of those memories. Memories from what was once our home.

While in Atlanta, we took the time to visit our old neighborhood. You probably don't remember that house, but I still think of it as ours. "5-4-& a door" as our realtor called it, and I loved it so. 2030 will always be that place for me. I often joke with Daddy that if it ever goes up for sale, I'd want to buy it just to walk its halls again. Soak up the way the sun pours into the bay windows.  Given the chance, I'd sit in your old room, reminiscing the old layout. You in your crib and me in the rocking chair, just staring at your newness. Walking the stairs up and down up and down trying to keep you from crying. I wished time away when I was going through it, wishing for you to grow up and get past that fussy stage. But given the chance, I'd hold that little newborn again. Breathe in her smells, kiss her tiny face. Just for a minute, in that old home.

As fate and God's planning would have it, later in the year we moved yet again. You changed schools yet again. And all of those same mommy fears of mine resurfaced. Not only were we moving you 3 hours away, but we were moving you away from family. Countless cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents you'd grown accustomed to seeing. In and out of their homes to play, eat meals, and celebrate birthdays. We also had to say goodbye to your childhood friend, Emma. Y'all had been together since you were babies. I'm grateful to have made a friend in Emma's mama, too, so that you girls can continue to keep in touch for years to come.

And so, we packed you and your sister up and moved the 3 hours north to my childhood home. Literally. We stayed for over a month. That was tricky, but we all survived, including Papa and D-ma. Just as renovations on our new house were being finished, a new school year began. You were bright eyed and all smiles. You handled car line drop off as if you'd been doing it forever. I, of course, had knots in my stomach all day. My head was filled with thoughts. How could I make you switch schools twice in one year? Weren't you going to miss everything about your old house? Your old friends? Were you going to be sad? Would you be shy? How quickly do toddlers bounce back? Did you like your new room?

You came home that day with a brand new school folder labeled EVANS, two flower stamps on your hand and a red lollipop. Again, all smiles. My heart was so happy. You are ten times braver than your mommy. I'm so glad you are mine.

We've moved, and moved, and moved again. Somewhere along the way I came to realize, no matter the city, no matter the house, no matter the zip code, there really is no place like home.

And you are home to me.

Happy Birthday, I love you,


Dear Evans (1)

Dear Evans (2)

Dear Evans (3)


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