Wednesday, June 20, 2012

{Scroll down.  Cue music.}
I've gotten to a really awesome place,
of living authentically.
Embracing what I can handle, backing down from what I can't.
Epic birthday celebrations?
So not my thing.  
(Refer to Gracie's 5th Birthday nonsense last year.)
Fun, unforgettable, memorable, all of that.
But an event that unhinged a side of me, that, well,
should've stayed in tact.
But when I get an idea in my head, I make it happen.
A blessing and a big fat curse.
Extremely self-motivated, determined and persistent,
but stubborn beyond belief, often times following through with things that I shouldn't and learning the hard way.  More on that.
This post isn't about me.
It's about her.
A friend and I talked the other day about how so many of us take for granted, the 'normal' developments of our children.
She has a child with Downs Syndrome, so is more than aware of the complexities and differences of raising a child who's 'different' than the rest of them.  We talked about how those of us who HAVEN'T experienced that, don't always appreciate the many milestones in a 'typical' child's life.
Roll to crawl.  Crawl to stand.  Stand to walk.  Walk to run. 
Learning to talk, read, write, all the things most kids just do naturally.  
I am grateful each day.  I try so hard NOT to take those things for granted.  Knowing full well how swiftly a perfectly 'healthy' or 'normal' or 'typical' thriving and flourishing child, can change, get sick, get injured.
We celebrated Gracie's 6th Birthday.
Another day to be grateful, for not only the good, but the bad, 
that opens our eyes, helps us grow, teaches us how to be better.
And as I do on all my children's birthdays, 
I take pause to reflect on the magnitude of that.
The amazement in all that happens in a year, in a child's life.
MY child's life.
How in such a short time, she has gone from my baby girl,
head in the shape of a box.  No really.  It was a perfect square.  All cheeks.
To one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
We all think our children are beautiful.
And say, "No, but really.  My kid is so beautiful.  Have you ever SEEN anyone so perfect?"
And I will say it too.  Just like that.
And I tell her everyday.
Because I want her to know how special she is.  How beautiful.
Not just outside, but in.  And want her to love and respect herself, 
but also be thankful for what she has.  To be loved and adored, 
but also humbled.
Now, she is a little girl, on her way to, SLOWLY, becoming a woman.
Naturally, she's ten kinds of crazy.
Emotional and sensitive as hell.
She cried at her Birthday breakfast (yes, that's a real tear,)
because she didn't want to go to her first day of swimming lessons.
She doesn't do change well.  
And like her mother, 
has to be PUSHED out of her comfort zone sometimes.  Er. . .a lot.
She likes to do things on her own time and at her own will.
She pouts, she whines, she kicks and screams.
Just a regular ball of joy.
Has looks that could kill.
And She.Won't.Budge.
I LOVE that about her.
And hate it.
It makes parenting her, hard.
Oh, we saw it coming.  From birth.  
Only seconds had passed after pulling her from the womb, 
that her LOUD, EAR-PIERCING cries (that lasted for an HOUR after delivery, with no respite,)
did all the nurses laugh and giggle,
"Oh, my!  You're going to have your hands full with that one."
Even THEY knew.
As young as 3, to already see sass in the hips,
an already abrasive edge surrounding the innocence and softness of her toddler being.
It was visible then.
Even MORE visible with each passing year.
Don't try to impress her.  She won't be.
The Devil Incarnate wrapped in the package of a sweet little girl.
Obviously, she is so much more than that.
SO much more.
She is, one of the most generous, thoughtful, caring, kind and sweet little 6-year-old girls I know.
All of those things, more than most ADULT women I know,
untainted by life still, still too young and naive to be hardened by life's disappointments, heartache and pain.
Still giving of herself completely to anyone that crosses her path.
Non-judgmental, naturally nurturing, running out the door with a box of crackers or juice boxes to share if she sees friends she knows at the park,
quickly offering up things in her room to friends that come to play,
she LOVES to give, LOVES to share.
She teaches me daily to let go of my own judgements, 
my own propensity to hoard things from others, or keep things for myself.
How did we celebrate her and all that she is to us?
No obnoxious fairy parties this year.
We kept it simple.
I bribed Jack and the neighbor boys to decorate the night before.
This is what they came up with.
 Good enough.
And Grace thought it was. . .well, she wasn't impressed.
(Especially when we got tangled in it running through the living room to the basement at 4am when the tornado sirens went off.)
The power was out, so our typical Birthday Breakfast pancakes,
were enjoyed at a restaurant.
Where Charlie collected 14 straws, knocked over two cups of water and threatened my patience.
Didn't matter though.
It was Gracie's day.
"I just want to be with my family."
Oh.  And watch whatever she wanted on t.v.
Play a few computer games.
Such a refreshing and more 'appropriate' way to honor a special girl on a special day, than last year.:)
Soaking in the delicate features that make her, her.
Wondering how to preserve the sweetness and kind heart that she is now.
The perfect balance you could ask for in a girl.
Sassy and sweet.
Sensitive and strong.
Witty and compassionate.
Thoughtful and selfless.
How to get her to womanhood in one piece.
I think she'll get there just fine.  With a little push.
We celebrated simply.  Without stress.
Just the way Gracie likes it.
Pizza.  Cake and ice cream.  Presents.
Just us.
(And YAY!  Daddy has a beard!!!  LOVING it.)
Jack annoyed that is wasn't HIS birthday.  Boo hoo.
Charlie perfectly content as long as food is around the corner.
Of course, there was.
The best kind of food.
Oh.  And a little Karaoke. 
(Thank you, Grace R.  Best gift idea.  EVER.)
Check yo' self, Taylor Swift.
And like every other momentous milestone in the life of a parent,
it came and went.  In the blink of an eye.

The release of another day, another year, 
let go of but cherished forever in my mind, captured with my camera.
Quietly making a wish for more of the same,
another year of health and happiness, 
for my baby girl.


gabbygrace said...

Oohhh my how I love some gracie !!!!!! And I'm so pumped she rocked out the karaoke, nothing better than when a gift hits the right note ;) she's a wonder that girl and between her and mine we will have years to analyze and break our hearts over wth to do! So fun and love the post keepin it real!

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