Well, I promised a while back that I would give a special dedication to my Hollybabies and where each of them got their names and do a proper introduction for each of them. You all know them all ready. The fair skinned blonde beauties who call me Mommy! So I think I will just share a bit of how they individually challenge and surprise me on a daily basis. So today I want to talk about the eldest Hollygirl... Grayce Kathleen ... she has all the beauty and charm of her Hollywood namesake Grace Kelly of course. How could we not give a tribute to a Hollywood Princess turned a real life one. On a few occasions I was told I bared some resemblance to the Hollywood star. Grace had long been a named that I loved even before it was 'cool' again. Due to my expert precision in walking and marching was referred to as Grace many times growing up and in the Marine Corps. In some strange way I felt I was merely pre-determining the fate of her beauty and coordination. A name that could only make sense for my first born child. Only adding a Y to aggravate her years later and to aggravate the in-laws now :) Maybe not actually either...but just to make sure that this Grayce stood out among the many other Grace's in the world. Little did I realize then that she does not need my help in standing out at all.
Grayce changed my life. My first born...her gift to me was making me a mother. I never thought I would be a mom or have children of my own. I was told that several times by many different doctors. I had come to terms with the idea of not bearing my own children at a very young age. I remember sitting with her father listening to another doctor tell me the same thing again just two months before I found out I was pregnant. I remember friends buying books on adoption. I remember talking to my mother about going to see a specialist and maybe talking my next eldest sister into carrying a child for me with some borrowed sperm! I have to LOL at the thought of all of that now--THREE girls later!
I prayed to God that night after being discharged from the hospital asking him to reconsider me never having my own child. Now I must say I swear I heard 'This is God. I can't answer your prayer right now. If you leave a message I will get back to you when the time is right...BEEEEP'. So as you can see I had the understanding I was merely leaving a message. Nope! God was apparently screening all of his calls very carefully because according to my calculations we conceived Grayce that very next week or so.
I have to admit...I was not scared at all when I found out I was having a baby! Yes, there were many things to be scared about, yet for some reason I was just calm and at peace. I knew that what ever was about to happen was what was supposed to happen. Their dad on the other hand was not so sure. He looked so scared and did not speak to me for days, but he never left. He was right there silent and scared! I asked him to drive me home to my parents house 4 hours away and he did. I knew that my family would be about the only thing to shake him free from this state of shock. That weekend home my family surrounded us with the love and support that they always had with everything else that happened in my life. That weekend they looked at my then boyfriend and later husband as family...knowing that come what may they would owe the beauty of this grandchild partially to him. My Mom Kim was overjoyed at the idea of becoming a grandma and my dad well I am certain he just laughed at the payback I would be receiving for all the hell I put him through as a kid. Not an ounce of disappointment. Not a lecture. He just bought me a pit pass and took me to the dirt track to show me a good time before I got all fat! That was the most connected I had felt to all of my parents ever. My mother just hugged me and smiled often (again I am pretty sure it was inner laughter about payback she knew was coming) letting me know it would all be okay.
So many moments between then and now I worried our new little family wouldn't survive. Fear and faith somehow always work together one big circle. Usually ending with love. Grayce coming into my life was the moment that any of that could have ever made sense. Many years went by before I told anyone of my USC acceptance letter that came about the same day I found out I was pregnant. A young man stood before once asking me not to leave him for a bigger college long before a baby ever enter the picture, so I had already applied to one college and sat on the applications for the others. Figuring I would ride this out for one more year. Oh what a year that turned out to be :) I put a dream college on hold for love and I let it go of it all together for family. I would not change those choices for anything. I am always thankful of where I am today--no matter what day it happens to be!
All of this only comes to mind when thinking of Grayce, because she was the one that changed my life. Only for the better. Everyday she reminds me that I am doing a great job as her mother. Proof only by her kind and forgiving nature. She is strong and wiser than any other girl I know. I would love to take credit for her wisdom, but it really is just her way of watching observing and her compassion for others that makes her that way. She always has been an easy child. Yes, there was a short time of colic when she was a mess with acid reflux. Once we figured that out she just wanted to be left alone, until she needed something. She would just play on a blanket or in a bouncy chair and watch everything around her. So independent...but she loved to cuddle! She learned to pull herself up at 5 months and was crawling a few weeks later. She took her first steps at 7 months old, but decided not to start walking until 9 months old. When the day after Christmas after being so sick with pneumonia for a week, she stood up at Grandpa's house and ran off! I loved every minute of being her mother from day one. I still do.
Grayce will be a smarter and stronger woman than I ever could imagine myself being. She is a thinker. She is a dreamer. She is a doer. She is a seeker of knowledge. She observes everything... eventually drawing it out detail by detail. For those of you who don't know, Grayce could not talk in full sentences until she was almost 5 years old. She spent a year in speech therapy until she was able to perfect her words and thoughts. Until that point is was a unique language all of her own...mostly communicating through art. I asked her constantly to SHOW me what she was talking about...when is was something she couldn't find she would simply draw it out for me. Her skill at drawing the world around her amazes me. (I secretly hope she becomes an animator so I can get a glimpse into all the characters in her mind) Her attention to details and way of observing the world around her makes her a great artist. The one interest that has never faded is her love for drawing. I promise to post more art done by the little Graycie Kate.
Grayce Kathleen...named after my love of Hollywood and my lack of coordination. Getting her middle name from my late grandmother Mary Kathleen. Who herself was a strong woman and made a great impact on my life. Grandma Katie would have been proud of the young lady that carries her name now. I am proud of the young lady she has become. I feel more emotional writing about Grayce than I thought I would. Never knowing to the full extent of how my own child changed me for the better and took me on the more interesting route in the road of life. Being a mother was all I ever wanted to be...and Grayce made it all worth the wait and the worry.
My favorite Grayce memory so far is...
When she was young her father and I were preparing for our wedding day by taking some classes at church. He was assigned to pray with Grayce every night for a week. I believed whole heartedly that this journey with God was something he needed to discover for himself I stayed in the background as he went through confirmation classes. So I snuck down the hallway to hear them both struggling a little through The Lord's Prayer...he would whisper a line and she would try to form the words back to him. He says 'and give us this day our daily bread' and Grayce repeats back...'gimme a peamunt budder sammich'
We always relied on the Lord through many hard times, including now. Still today the girls and I say the Lord's Prayer before bedtime and each night the memories of her and her father sharing those prayer times and asking the Lord for a peanut butter sandwich makes me giggle.
Thank you my darling Grayce. May God continue to bless you in many ways :)