Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Grace! Part One

Grace turned FIVE YEARS old this April.


I know I should be reveling in the fact that she's so much bigger and older but all I seem to be able to feel is how old that makes me!

I really can't believe five years have gone by since that tiny little peanut of a girl was placed  in our arms. Sleepless nights and all the excitement of the first baby turned quickly into routine and we have loved seeing our girl grow and develop over the years.

As we got ready to move back to the US I had one reoccurring nightmare:
Grace, on her birthday, blowing out a candle on a cake.
In an empty room.
With tears streaming down her face.
She looks up at me and asks "Where are all of my friends?"

And I would wake up in tears.

I knew this scenario, though a bit dramatic, was entirely possible.

I tried my best to brace Grace for the worst. And build up her birthday in whatever way I could!

"YOU get to spend your birthday in America!"
"YOU get to go to Disney for your birthday!"

And there was shameless present bribing.

Grace seemed unfazed until a few days before her actual birthday, when she realized the reality of not being able to invite any friends to her party- Just her boring old family.

Those conversations were heartbreaking, for sure, but we pulled off not one, but two birthday parties with our different sides of the family, and I think she felt loved, cherished, and special, so hopefully that makes up for the lack of playmates.

Her first party ended up being a bit of a mish mash of Sofia the First and Frozen. Her requests for a family dinner included Mimi's chicken, asparagus (her favorite!) sweet potatoes, and cake.

The cake had very specific directions: Pink frosting (vanilla,) Chocolate cake, with gummi worms and dirt cake somehow infused. I finally convinced her to save the worms and dirt cake for her other birthday party and salvaged our princess party cake a bit.

No one says she isn't unique!

Ian's mom helped put together this party and even made us a pin the nose on Olaf game. I can't find a picture anywhere but it was so cute!

Grace got Paw Patrol vehicles and characters, Candy Land, a Sofia the first costume, and some new clothes! The plan was to replace her bike that we sold in Abu Dhabi but we will wait until we know where we are going next to purchase that- one less thing to move!

Grace is such a big personality! She loves people- talking to them, interacting with them, playing with them. She could be with other people 24/7. She loves making jokes and has dubbed herself as "hilarious." Grace is surprisingly athletic. She's a fast runner and picks ups on technique for just about any sport- recently throwing and catching a frisbee and hitting a baseball on a tee!

Grace is so smart. She loves to learn about anything and finds the patterns in everything. She's reading at a second to third grade level and is eager to be able to do more! I'm amazed at her comprehension and retelling skills.

Grace is hurting the most over our move. she wants friends and playdates and stability and her toys and space. She is very excited about the prospect of kindergarten in the fall but gets frustrated that we can't show her where she will be going yet.

Grace is an awesome big sister, especially to Luke. She helps him, soothes him, and cuddles with him. She leads Sophia in imaginative play and helps them create a world to play in. Grace can find friends anywhere and makes it her mission at a park or playground to find someone who will play with her.

I can't wait to see what happens in her five year old life this year. Grace, I pray that the Lord will call you to Him and you will choose to follow Him. I pray that we can point you in the right direction and show you His love, mercy, grace, patience, and teach you of what it means to face consequences for our choices, and the beauty in the fact that we can not bear the full weight of our sins ourselves.

I pray that this year you will have a compassionate heart. You've been so sheltered and lived in a place with much wealth and diversity. I pray that as you settle into this American life that you will still embrace all around you, no matter the capabilities, skin color, or financial status. I pray that you will LOVE deeply all in your class and that you will be an advocate for those that need a friend. And I pray that I can show these to you in my own life.

Grace, I love you sweet girl. I am so thankful for the five years we have had together and what you have already taught me. I love you with all of my heart. Ugga Mugga, baby girl. Here's a hushum from me to you.

1 comment:

Alison H said...

5 years! 5 years? 5 years ago we sat in the hospital and waiting for baby Grace to join us? 5 years! What in the world. Gosh, to think about all we've learned and been through in the last 5 years! From just Lucy bug to 6 kids total in 5 years!!!!! (Ugh, I'm tired writing that)

Gracie, we love you so super much and miss you! How exciting that you got to have 2 birthday parties with your sweet family! What a special time! Please have your mommy give you a big hug and a kiss from me and Lucy and Weee-yul and Baby Matt. You look like such a big girl in that picture with your crown on! (!!!)

5 years. gulp.