Memories

A disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries or the message from the Hallmark card.

A/N: I can't thank Phyrfli for betaing this one-shot for me. She is just amazing! Thanks for making my story sound tons better. :)

Elena had just gotten home from a long day of school with nothing to do and decided that she could go through some of the old boxes upstairs in the attic. When she came across an envelope with her name written on it, curiously, she opened it up to see it was a birthday card from her parents. It was obviously for her 18th birthday; but unfortunately, her parents passed away before they were able to see her turn into an adult. Her mom, Miranda, had always made her and Jeremy cards for special occasions. The card reads:

For a Dear Daughter With Love,

You've grown into such a wonderful young woman,

It's hard to believe,

How the years have flown by…

Years of seeing you explore,

And experience the world,

And watching you change from a delightful little girl

Into a charming young woman.

Elena had remembered a time when she was about eight years old and was just learning how to swim with her father, Grayson. The Gilbert family was at their favorite vacation spot for the kids' summer vacation and Elena was determined to learn how to swim before the end of their stay, so she had asked her father to teach her. "Come on, Elena," said Grayson in a gentle tone. He motioned for her to jump into the semi warm lake water. "Don't be afraid of the water, my dear. I will be with you the whole time. " Elena was a little fearful, but her father's calming words eased her mind as she entered into the warm lake water. She slightly gasped when she got into the warm water because she remembered earlier that it was very cold when she touched it earlier from the docks. "Daddy, the lake water was so cold earlier. Why is it so warm now?" asked Elena with her childlike innocence. "Sweetie, the sun warmed the water with its rays," said Grayson said with a warm smile. "That's so cool, Daddy," said Elena with a wide grin on her face. "Are you ready to start swimming?" He said with a little excitement in his tone. "Yeah, let's go." The memory ends with Elena beginning to shed a tear down her cheeks. After she wipes them away, she continues to read on.

It's easy to see

How so many of the special qualities

You had as a child,

Have helped you become

The beautiful person you are today.

Another memory came into Elena's head; she remembers her father telling her how beautiful she looked in her little dress. Tonight was the annual Father-Daughter Date Night at Mystic Falls Elementary. Miranda had done up Elena's hair in a cute little bun and pulled out some strands to create some soft ringlets. She looked like a Daddy's little heartbreaker with her little white dress with pink roses with a devilish smile coming down the stairs. "Here comes, my little princess," said Grayson. "Oh, Daddy you're so silly," said Elena with a giggle. "Oh, we can't forget your tiara, Lena," said Miranda with a big grin. Miranda handed over the tiara to Grayson, so he could put it on her head. Elena was speechless because tonight she will look like a real princess. Tonight she feels like Cinderella; going to the ball with the most handsome man, her daddy. That memory fades and Elena cannot help, but not smile. She remembers that night quite well because she was the only girl at the dance to have a tiara. That was probably one of her best memories of being a little girl.

When you were small,

You could turn the most ordinary things

Into marvelous games.

And even now

You can make everyday events

Seems like so much fun.

Elena remembers the times when she wanted to help the environment, so she took up recycling aluminum cans after learning about some of the ways at the elementary school field trip to EarthWorks. She had learned how the environment is affected by pollution and how it affects everything around us. Therefore, when she got home and told her parents they should start recycling aluminum cans. "Mom, I think it would be a good idea if we start recycling our aluminum cans instead of throwing them in the trash." "Okay, sweetheart." So, Elena went to her room and decided to think of some ways to make it fun to crunch those cans. She decided that she would get a bag and start collecting all the cans in the house to throw them in the big barrel that her parents had in the garage. She had convinced Jeremy to play her little game she made up "Can Ball" it was basically like shooting free throws except you're using cans instead of basketballs. "Jeremy, I bet you can't make more than six cans in that barrel," said Elena with a grin on her face. "You're on." Jeremy successfully made the cans in the barrel. "Hey, this is actually fun, Elena." Jeremy said sheepishly. "See, recycling can be fun." The memory fades and she realizes that was definitely a life changing thing.

As a child,

You were always willing to share

Your treasures,

Your friendship,

Your sunny smile…

Just as now you share

Your warmth and kindness

Whenever someone needs you.

Elena had thought about the times when Bonnie and Caroline would come over. Caroline's mother was always on call and Bonnie's father was always going away on trips. So, the girls were always at Elena's house. One day the three girls came over to Elena's house after school to have girl talk. "Hey Bon Bon, Did you check out that new guy Billy? He was so hot. I think I'm going to try and be his girlfriend by the end of the week," said Caroline. "Come on, Caroline. Just last week, you wanted to be Jack's girlfriend," said Bonnie with a laugh. Elena just shook her head and giggled, "Oh Caroline, what are we going to do with you?" The girls looked over at Caroline. "What? I can't help it," said Caroline with a chuckle as she proceeded to the fridge to get out some ice cream. "Who's up for a super sundae," said Elena quickly as she grabbed the hot fudge. "I'll get the caramel sauce and chocolate chips," sang Bonnie as she grabbed them from the cabinet. The girls laughed and made their sundaes and finished the night off by watching some movies.

It's such a pleasure

Watching you handle things

With so much assurance now

And remembering times past

When you bravely faced the challenges

Of learning new skills

And making new friends.

Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline offered to go to the Cheer-leading camp. Their coach, Mrs. Wright thought those three would be great candidates to learn and teach the other cheerleaders when they got back from going to the University of Virginia's Cheer-leading clinic. "Okay, girls. We're here to represent Mystic Falls, so let's not mess up," said Caroline. "Well, well, well, look who we have here," said Elise. "Hello, Elise," said Caroline darkly as she glared at the other blonde girl. "I see you brought your little shadows with you to this camp. This is for captains only you know?" " Well, Mrs. Wright thought it would be a good idea to bring Elena and Bonnie since this isn't only a captain's cheer camp. You know there are other activities that are being taught here," said saucily by Caroline. "Pff… Fine whatever, come on girls," said Elise as her other blond lackeys, Layla and Maya scurried along. "Just forget them, Caroline; they aren't worth our time. Let's go and meet the girls that we'll be staying with at the dorms," said Bonnie, as they casually made their way to the dorms. The girls ran across to the building when they came across a girl waiting outside. "Hey, are you Emma? I'm Caroline Forbes, this is Elena Gilbert, and this is Bonnie Bennett. We're here from Mystic Falls," said Caroline as she shook Emma's hand. "Hi, guys! I'm Emma Garber. I'm the captain of Roanoke High School. Would you guys like to stay in my dorm room along with my friends, Molly and Angela? We can all totally be spirit sisters," said Emma with a smile. Elena remembered that week they had spent with Emma, Molly, and Angela. They had learned quite a bit from those three girls and had such a good time; especially when they had found out that Elise and her friends had been caught partying on campus, which was against the rules. So they have to see Elise, Layla, and Maya be escorted back to their bus ride home. Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline still talk about that day and still talk to their spirit sisters from time to time. That is definitely a great memory thought Elena with a smile on her face.

With each experience,

You became more and more confident.

Now you're very much

Your own person –

Mature, independent, accomplished –

But you still have the sweetness

And the sense of fun

You had when you were small.

Tonight was the first night that Matt and Elena had decided to go the next level and go out on a date. It was as if it were yesterday as Elena begins to remember. "Hey, Mrs. Gilbert, is it cool that Elena and I go out? " Asked Matt as he and Elena were on their way out. "Of course, Matt. I trust you as much as I trust Jeremy. Go have fun you two," said Miranda. Matt had a night planned out for Elena that she didn't know about because he was going to ask Elena, his best friend, to become his girlfriend. He's been in love with her since they were kids. So, Elena and Matt got in his truck and Matt was taking her to the falls by Mystic River to set out a picnic. "Hey, Matt. Where are we going? Asked Elena as they pulled into a spot by the Mystic Falls River. "I decided that I wanted us to have a picnic for starters," said Matt with a grin on his face. "Aw…. Matt. That's so sweet of you," said Elena. Matt had lead Elena to a spot that he had laid out the picnic basket along with a dozen of rose petals spread across the blanket. Matt had led her to the spot and they started eating all the stuff that Matt had actually gotten from the Grill and put it in his picnic basket. "Sorry, it's just stuff from the Grill because I know that you wouldn't like what I would make you. It probably would have been burned to a crisp," said Matt with a laugh. "Yeah, you're probably right," said Elena with a smile. They had spent their time talking and after awhile Matt led Elena over by the falls. Matt thinking, Man I should just do it now. "Elena, I have something to ask you," Matt had grasped her hand and asked her if she would be his girlfriend. "I think I would like that," said Elena. Matt had cupped her face and kissed her softly over by the falls. Elena remembers their love. Matt was definitely her first love, but it lacked the passion that she was looking for. She will be forever happy to have him on her side.

You're such a source of pride,

A happy reflection of cherished memories,

And a promise of more joys

Yet to come…

Elena remembered her parents always made sure there were many pictures to be taken. Miranda would always make some mandatory picture day. It was always silly, but it always made their mother smile. "Come on, Lena. Jer? It's time for us to go to the lake house. I think the Lockwoods are going to be out there today," said Miranda, as she was packing the SUV. "Alright, everyone ready?" said Grayson, as he began to pull out of the driveway to heading to Dunham Lake. Once they got there, it was picture time. "Hey Tyler, would you be a sport and take our picture?" Asked Grayson, as he handed Tyler the camera. "Sure, Mr. Gilbert," said Tyler. The Gilbert family had taken a few pictures, some of the pictures of everyone by the docks and the lake house itself. Elena would remember all the campfires and S'mores that summer. It was definitely the best bonding time; they had as a family. Elena believes that they will eventually have more occasions that are joyous.

And that's why

You'll always be loved…

For the little girl you were,

For the special young woman you are now,

For the wonderful daughter

You will always be.

Happy Birthday, Princess. We wish you the best birthday and many more to come.

With much love,

Mom and Dad

Elena lets a tear gently slide down her cheek, but she was not sad anymore. She was happy for all the memories that she had with her family and friends. She realized no matter how bad of a day she had; she would always have them to lean on even those who are gone.

A/N 2: I wrote this one shot as a result of coming across this card in some old boxes of my grandmas. The card was from my great grandma to my grandma and I thought it would be a great idea to try to make it into a small story of memories. Earthworks, which is a place I used in the memories is an actual place that I went to a long time ago. Definitely, an interesting place talks about the habitats between the states of Kansas and Missouri. I hope that you people enjoyed this as much as I have been writing this.

Please Read and Review. I will take all forms of criticism and hoping to become a better writer.