I can't believe my Gracie just turned 7 years old. I say that in the same sense that other parents do now...but a few years ago I just wasn't sure. She has been our angel in every sense of the word. Having her has changed me, my perspective on life and what really matters to me. In some ways I feel like I'm more hardened to life now, less outgoing and less friendly. Many days I just don't feel like wasting time when there are so many things to be done. This is a shame, because I know I miss out of so many of the tiny details...the little moments that make you pause and catch a glimpse into your children's or your own soul. But having Gracie has changed me in other ways, too. When I hear a story of a mother that gives birth to a sick baby, or a story about a child that is struggling with illness, I am touched. More deeply than I ever knew I could be. She has taught me to FEEL. Truly feel and hurt for other's pain, sorrows and struggles.
On the morning of her birthday, April 28th, I lie in bed. I heard the kids stirring. Craig got up and showered. I just lied in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking about this very morning, 7 years ago. I was frozen with the memory. Craig met the kids in the kitchen. I could hear him getting out pans and asking Gracie what she would like for breakfast. I knew I should be the one in there. I should be greeting her with a huge "Happy Birthday!" but instead I was in bed wiping the tears from my eyes. It amazed me how painful it was to recall the events of April 28th, 2003 and the months that would follow. I knew I should make myself remember it all. Feel the pain again. Because when I had remembered every last detail that I could recall, I felt nothing but gratitude. She was allowed to live, to be an important part of our family. She was here to love us and to teach us and to make us laugh, everyday.
I am so grateful to be Gracie's mother.