My firstborn. I remember strapping her into the johnny jumper while I tried unsuccessfully to cook dinner before she started crying. I remember how I used to lay her on the changing table and step back to look at how long (and pretty!) she was. I remember when she would get sick and how desperate I felt to make her feel better. I remember the mommy & Grace dates we used to take...movies, sno cones, the park. I remember May birthday parties with family and several "little girl" friends.
This time, it's still the same....but it's different. Gone are the little girl parties and pin the tail on the donkey. We're in Uganda, so the birthday option list wasn't long, but she asked to take a few girls to get pedicures and have a sleepover. And carrot cake (so grown up)! All of the girls clamored into the car and sang Frozen's "Let It Go" at the top of our lungs while Grace made quick sideways glances at me to make sure I wasn't singing too loud....mommy can't embarrass her, right? An American Girl movie was watched, future home plans were sketched out on paper at our table, dogs were chased....glimpses of "little girl" were still there.
But My Grace. She's growing up. She loves taking care of the babies at the babies home we served at this year, she loves animals (especially horses and dogs), she loves to laugh, and cries when she thinks she's disappointed you. I plan on taking a deep breath and plunging into this uncharted "big girl" territory with her (although I explored it many years ago). I'm going to hold fast to the hope, encouragement, and wisdom we give her and pray that people come alongside to nurture and mature those seeds. When she falls, I'm going to sit there with her and tell her to get up and try again. And when she succeeds, I'll be her biggest fan. I'm going to do all these things because I love this girl with all my heart. She is our first gift.
We love you, Grace Ryan. Always have, always will.
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