Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One Year Old: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Ah, my dear sweet Grace.  As I sit here nursing you, I know our time together in such a bond is coming to a close.  I'd like to think it will go on forever, but as the seasons of life change from one to another, such things do pass.  But not just yet.  Not yet.  This Mama and her baby girl are not quite ready.  I know we'll have many beautiful times together from here forward.  I'm simply clinging to the now and the recent past.  It is a habit of mine, you know, one I'm working on. 

It is now two weeks past your birthday.  I think I've had a hard time sitting down to write this blog....this final month of the first year. It is hard to finish something sometimes when it means closing a door.  Yet...isn't that what life is all about? Walking forward....being where you are at while you are there, then looking ahead and taking each day as it comes.....celebrating and learning from the changes we encounter.  Growth.

And you are growing faster than I can imagine!  Tall and big.  You're easily fitting in 18 month clothing and some 2T shirts and dresses!  Was it only a year ago you were in newborn clothes?

In your third month, I wrote:

"I am reminded of the description of St. Nicholas in Twas the Night Before Christmas.....fitting for our Grace Noelle: 'Your eyes - how they twinkle - your dimples so merry, Your cheeks so like roses, 
your nose like a cherry.' "

Oh how true this remains of you! You are a bright star!  When you smile, the world seems to light up, and then on seeing our reaction to you, yet another level of brightness shines forth.  Unbelievable you are......dimples so cute, countenance so bright, eyes so sparkly.  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star indeed.

You are standing alone now, without the support of furniture or cabinetry.  In fact, the day before your first birthday, you took your first steps, alone, in the center of our kitchen. From squatting you rose up.  Caleb and I saw you, and then, with a gleam in your eyes and a brilliant smile on your face, you stepped forward again....then again.  We were beyond excited, and the more excited we got, the happier you became.  Emet came running down from upstairs, and Sissy started crying in the living room because she had missed it.  And you did it again, for each of them as they entered, and again for Papa that night when he came home.  Now, having more than two weeks passed, and seeing the infrequency with which you do this, I know you did it for us....for each of us.  As crawling is much more expedient, your few steps are typically followed by lowering down to a rapid crawl across the floor, though you will grasp even one finger and walk, quite surely, beside us.  But the minute we let go, down you go. 

I simply cannot adequately express the radiance in the countenance of babies and their families when such milestones occur. There, in those moments, is no shame or fear of public display.....no timidity, simply an excitement proclaiming - "Look at me!  I'm doing it!", or, "I can't believe I'm here to see this!"  And, this simply begins the childhood quest for praise and attention.  It has, of course, been occurring since your wee months, but as you begin to speak - you will ask for it....seek it.....and as your Mama, I will do my very best to quench your every need to have your little tank filled with love and praise.  

To be truthful, I might have confused you a bit, for I had left my planner at Grandpa and Grandma B's house at Thanksgiving and went a few days without it (NOT a good plan for your Mama.)  So, the day prior to your birthday, the kids and I sang happy birthday to you, put on the birthday hat at breakfast, your first birthday shirt, and we headed out the door to Caleb's school honors assembly.  After sitting down and sharing your first birthday news with those sitting around me, Papa soon arrived to point out that that day was not, in fact, November 29, and therefore NOT your birthday!  I quickly took the onesie off to save any further embarrassment. So, perhaps you had been holding out to take your first solo steps until your birthday and I confused you.  Or, maybe you just wanted to be the first in the family to walk.  Either way, you were our youngest "first stepper!"   

You are certainly one to hold your own.  You will not let us leave you alone without voicing your opinion, and loudly at that! When you are finished, you will cross your arms back and forth across your body, and when you want something - anything - you clap your hands, then extend out your arms in front of you, bending almost backwards at the elbows and clasping your hand as in the "milk" sign.  Lately, you have been shaking your head from side to side and have begun making silly faces - just to be silly.....squinting your eyes closed, then opening them again to see us, of course, staring at you and smiling!  You are quite a ham.

I look down at you in your crib, Grace Noelle, and I am amazed.  I see a baby that stretches, barely fitting your crib from side to side.....when just a year ago, you were so tiny and small when we first laid you there.  I see your growing, shiny locks of blonde hair - still short, but so much more than the downy fuzz that covered your head a year ago.  

But more than all of this, I see a future....I see you in a year, and then two, three, four, five and six from now, in the same way I have seen your brothers and sister grow before my very eyes.  All of the stages and joys that lie before us. I see the ending of the season of childbearing for me....and while that creates a sad feeling in my heart, a reminiscent one....it also creates a hope and anticipation for the joys of moving forward as a little family - growing and learning together, planting our roots like mighty oak trees, growing deep in the nourishing soil....learning as a family to love, give, and serve; creating traditions and beautiful memories that will last our whole lives long, and will become, for you, the foundation of your lives....becoming together a mighty lighthouse in a dark world.  

But Grace, you are so much more than simply the fourth child, the last to pass through the growing years in our home.  You are a miracle in your own right.  Beautiful, charming, and full of life.  You are cherished by your family and all who encounter you.  You have a winning way about you that makes you unforgettable.  

May you grow in Grace, sweet little one.  Grow in the beauty and Grace for which you were created.  You are amazing, cherished, and above all, are a precious child of God.  

Grow on, little Grace.  Grow on!

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