Wednesday, January 19, 2011

happy birthday grace!

Today our sweet girl turns 4!!

Here she is posing in her super cute outfit from T@rget.  I love their clothes for girls.

It is hard to believe that another year has passed.  Last year her birthday was not a good day or week for me.  It came so close to her going to school and was filled with the realization that my daughter was not getting better.  I am in a much better place this year.  I put the credit for that squarely at the feet of Jesus, who said;

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29 

Our sweet girl has changed our life, our family and our souls in ways we could not have imagined.  Grace brings us so much happiness and so much sadness. 

Some days I can look at her and all I think of how far she has come.  How bright her smile is.  How she seeks me out in a crowd.  How she clings to me for comfort.  How she will follow her brothers around.  How she will say 'bye-bye' to me and Mark at home but not say it at school.  How clear her eyes are at times. 

And then some days, I look at her and all I can see is how far she has yet to go.  How we don't have a diagnosis.  How we don't really know what her voice sounds like.  How she doesn't use her hands.  How she does not eat solid food.  How she has to be fed  How when you look at her there is 'no one home'.  How she goes to a school for significantly mentally and physcially disabled kids "just like her".  How much like a baby she still is even though she is four years old.  How she doesn't know that today is her birthday...

Last year, I was stuck in the list of how far she has yet to go.  And in fact, we did not celebrate her birthday at all.  I was too sad.  Too obsessed with all the can't do's that I couldn't face celebrating her birthday while she looked at us with a blank expression on her face and no recognition in her eyes.  And since she doesn't eat food, what's the point in a cake or cupcakes or anything really.

But this year is different.  I am different.  I am choosing to celebrate her birthday to acknowledge the day she came into the world.  The day her birth mother gave birth to a completely normal, wonderful baby girl.  I have decided that we are going to celebrate with brownies and candles and balloons.  And even though Grace may not know why or what is even going on around her, I will know that I chose to celebrate my daughter and her life.  And because, one of the scripture verses that I cling too and pray over Grace daily is; 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11
We believe that applies to us and Grace in a big way.  So Happy Birthday Grace, mommy loves you more than you will ever know...

Sort of on a related/side note, I have recently started reading a wonderful blog by a great writer and mother of an unexpected special needs daughter named Kelle Hampton.  Kelle's daughter Nella was born with Down Syndrome, and her recounting of the birth story had me in tears.  It was her blog started me thinking that I wasn't doing enough to celebrate Grace and her birthday.  Kelle's blog is called Enjoying the Small Things and she is celebrating her daughter's first birthday this week.


Gardenia said...

hat a lovely wearing your heart on your sleeve tribute to your daughter. happy birthday to Grace.

Cheryl (in Buffalo) said...

Happy Birthday Grace!!!! Always celebrate the good things in life....There is so much sadness that we dwell on. The celebrations are what make us the strong, wonderful people we are :) Also, on a side note, I think that the celebrations are as much for you and your husband and the boys as they are for Grace..... and I believe she will know it was a special day...which it truly is!!!! (This is a pretty good post for me, considering this is a very bad time of stress for me.....We have problems all around...but I am going to try to tak emy own advice and celebrate any little thing I can find to celebrate...)

Melinda said...

Happy Birthday to Sweet Grace! I love your newfound attitude! We can all learn from your example :-)

Jeanne said...

Happy Birthday to Grace! I hope you can start a tradition that will be meaningful for your family.

Hannah said...

Happy birthday Grace!! I have loved watching her grow and am amazed at how the Lord has touched your entire family over the past year.

BC said...

I wish I had more eloquent words to explain how beautiful and real and inspiring this post is. But all I can really say is "YOU ROCK!". :) I love your honesty.

Happy Belated Birthday Grace!

And I am a HUGE Kelle Hampton fan! Have we talked about this? Her photography and overall fun spirit is really contagious.