Dear Birthday Girl,
Happy 7th birthday, Gracie! 2,553 days ago you were born. It was a quiet, but amazing day. You were a planned section and everything went smooth and easy. I went into the hospital around 9am and had you in my arms by 12:30 pm. I felt great and you were just perfect. You arrived with dark brown hair that was already styled into a Mohawk, big blue eyes and the most perfect lips. I remember that day like it was yesterday and on your 7th birthday I imagined myself telling you your “birth” story. But plans changed and instead of telling you face to face I now must write my thoughts down and hope you hear them. I’m thinking you do as I’ve had lots of signs from you lately, signs that I didn’t realize or didn’t pay attention to. Signs that were meant to remind me to slow down, don’t be so grumpy and enjoy life a little more. This often happens as April approaches and your birthday draws near. I avoid thinking about your birthday because it makes me sad to know you’re not here to celebrate it with us. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, but lately I haven’t truly paid attention to your signs. I see or hear them and I break down for a few minutes and force myself to move on quickly because there is “too much to do”.
The last few weeks have been busy at work, at home and for the foundation, juggling the kids school, daycare, and sports schedules, keeping up the housework, flooding in the basement, report cards, lesson plans, progress notes, CSE meetings, cleaning and packing my classroom, the huge undertaking of planning and getting donations for the golf tourney, board meetings, Easter/Spring Event planning, buying and organizing for 2 hospitals, shopping and packing for our trip… I was drowning! Throughout all of this you were sending me little signs – bunnies, bunnies and more bunnies-lol, and other little things too that I now realized went unnoticed. I’m ashamed to say that when I saw or heard them, I brushed it aside because there was “too much to do”.
Gracie, why do so many of us in this world get so bogged down with so many things that we forget what’s important? I can only hope that wherever you are this doesn’t happen. I am guilty of taking on too much sometimes. Look at all the stuff I listed above, do you see anywhere “spend time with kids, play with kids, talk to kids, eat dinner at the table with the family”? It seems like those should have been first on my list of “to do” things and they weren’t. And I’m sorry for that. In this life we keep doing more and more and forget what’s most important, I of all people should know that! But it’s so easy to get carried away with things and sometimes it’s your signs that bring me back down to reality.
It was this past weekend at our Albany Med Easter Event that everything hit me. We walked in and first thing I saw was a picture of you and the second thing I saw was one of your favorite nurses, Tina. I was totally surprised, as I didn’t know she would be there. We hugged and as I hugged her, your picture was staring at me, and that’s when it all hit. Take a deep breath and SLOW DOWN. When we were in the hospital there was lots of time. Time went by slow, but it was so valuable. We got to play, hold you, sleep with you, cuddle, read to you, sing to you and so much more! So much time I was grateful for, even though I wish there was more.
As the event started and the kids were arriving I thought more about how trivial my list of things to do was and how your signs and this event was probably your way of saying slow down and enjoy your family because time goes by too fast and you just never know when your last time together will be.
It has been 1,916 days since I last held you. That’s 5 years, 2 months and 27 days since you were last in my arms. I promise you for your birthday that I will slow down, make memories, and enjoy life and our family. This will be my gift to you and to your brother and sister.
On your birthday we will be traveling. I will be patient, I will laugh, I will go with the flow. I will think of you and smile with every mile we travel, every laugh I hear, every ocean wave I see, every time the wind blows and every time I look into your brother and sister’s eyes. Gracie, your signs have been seen and heard. I love you. I miss you. I wish you the happiest 7th birthday ever. Happy Birthday, baby girl.
To all our supporters, Happy Easter! May you surround yourself with loved ones, make memories and remember to slow down. The page I was writing on in my journal had this quote and I thought it was perfect to share with you and to remember as we all feel the rush of life and sometimes forget what’s most important.
“Not that we deserve it, not that we can earn it, but that we know how precious and valuable a gift is. That’s what makes grace so amazing.”