Somewhere amazing, a beautiful little brunette is turning six years old.
She is a younger version of her strawberry blonde sister – with big eyes, a button nose, and perfect sweetheart lips.
And while those tender years seem to blaze past for our little ones, it seems the opposite has been true for Gracie. It feels like I can count each long day of these years because it has been one day replayed over and over.
Here is my sister, on the day before her Gracie was due.
We celebrated Gracie’s imminent arrival with a baby shower full of laughter and prayer.
My sister had endured long months of roller coaster medical news.
While Gracie kept astounding doctors with her tenacity to live, my sister fought just as hard to give her the chance. Faced with harsh criticism from a cruel doctor and one unrelenting grim prognosis after another; she placed her baby and her heart in God’s hands.
And on March 1st, 2004; that beautiful little girl made her arrival – breathing on her own as she was rushed past us to the neonatal intensive care unit.
It’s hard to describe the flood of emotions at that moment. It was a feeling of overwhelming joy and gratitude to see this precious face, blinking slowly at us from her little bed. As if she were saying,
“hello, what’s all the fuss been about?”
What was the fuss about? She was HERE! This tiny little gift was finally here... sporting a head of sweet brunette fuzz and looking otherwise identical to her big sister.
We spent 25 hours with this darling. She laid in a bed… surrounded with far more admirers than machines. She spent her day on earth being loved and absolutely adored by a family who had waited anxiously to meet her. How it must have felt to spend every moment of an earthly life surrounded this way!
We caressed her ticklish feet and soft cheeks.
We whispered her name at first.
Then we sung it.
Three generations of love harmonized in Amazing Grace and serenaded our little beauty.
There were tears for sure. But we refused to grieve for her while her sweet breath was on our fingertips. We squeezed the most out of every moment and desperately wished for more.
You know, there will never be enough.
These pictures break my heart because I wanted to see the rest of the story here. I wanted to show you pictures of Gracie’s birthdays. Of every single milestone. Every single silly expression.
But I can tell you without a single hesitation… that my sister would say it was worth it all.
That it is worth the heartache to have had Gracie’s fingers wrap around her own and know that they share a love beyond measure.
We grieve now.
We know she is in a perfect place. Running and playing with a whole heart and delight filling every inch of it. She brought joy with her tiny life - help me Lord to make my days count like that.
Continuing to rejoice over this little life, I want to leave you with something that brings me laughter through the tears. My house as a disaster zone after her baby shower, and us girls unwinding – cherishing our last few hours before meeting Baby Gracie.
And in the middle of clean-up, we began laughing at something silly. And as you can see, it was contagious – thank you for these joy-filled moments Gracie.
We love you baby girl – can’t wait to see you again.