Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Milestone

I have always been a planner.

List maker.

Note Taker.

I couldn't leave on vacation without a list of items to pack, an itenerary of what I was going to see, and maps for both directions - getting there and getting back.

If it doesn't come with an instruction manual, I just can not put it together.

I function best when there is little chaos, no clutter, and I have everything I need laid out before me.

I planned both of my pregnancies. Those of you who have children know what I mean when I say that.

On November 4, 2005 at 3:35 in the afternoon, a pinkish purple 9 pound 5 ounce bundle of joy came into this world and into my life. For nine months I had planned a nursery and picked out a baby book, filling it in with information as I awaited the arrival of Gracelynn Kay. Her name even got here before she did.

But I wasn't prepared for the sweetest little miracle that God brought into my life that day. I wasn't prepared for middle of the night feedings and an overflowing trash can of diapers. I wasn't prepared for tiny fingers and teensy toes. I thought I was.

Being a first time parent is like opening yourself up to a world full of advice that you didn't know you need. Or wanted. People will share every detail they possibly can - even some of the stuff that leaves you wondering exactly why they might have thought it was important for you to know that.

As I'm writing this on the eve of what will be my only daughter's fifth birthday, I am flooded with a variety of memories.
I remember the smell of her cheek the first time I kissed her in the operating room.

I remember the night they wheeled her to me and I could see her dark brown eyes peering up at me in the dim light of the hospital room.

I remember standing in the Physical Education complex of AUM on the night of Tara's graduation. I had just changed Gracie's diaper on a blanket in the bathroom floor. When we walked out of the bathroom, I was looking down at her. When she smiled at me for the first time I think my heart literally melted.

I remember the first time she laughed.

I remember her first birthday like it was yesterday.

It is amazing the change that children bring about in you.

What is even more amazing than that is watching them change. You blink for one second and suddenly they went from being this totally helpless little creature who depended on you for their every need to shunning you when you want to hold their hand in a public place.

To rolling their eyes and making silly faces when you ask them to do something for you.

To crying helplessly when you break the news that they are not getting a baby sister but a baby brother instead.

From a time when you were affectionately known as "Mommy" to suddenly learn you became "Mom."

And even in those fleeting moments when it seems like you have lost total control, to be asked to snuggle in bed before saying our prayers at night.

To slipping that sweet little smile so that they get their way. And you know you've lost.

To loving so unconditionally and without any hesitation that it leaves you breathless.

Five years ago, I thought I knew what I was getting in to. I never could have expected the amount of change that one sweet little girl could bring into my life. I have enjoyed every single minute of watching her grow into this little person she has become. She is beautiful on the inside and out. She has the kindest heart and is very emotional. She loves her baby brother so much you would never know she had asked God for a baby sister instead.

She is smart.

She is stubborn.

She is spirited and silly.

She has a laugh that when she really laughs you can't help but join her.

She is more like me than I have ever been willing to admit.

Five years ago, God blessed me with one of the sweetest gifts I have ever known. And one that I have grown to love more than I could have ever imagined.

Happy birthday, Gracie. Mommy loves you.