it’s a love without end

Dearest Grace of mine,

We miss you. The house is not the same with everyone here and you so far away at college. I’ve often said that I am so blessed and satisfied with you children, that even if God just gave me YOU, I would have a heart overflowing with gratitude. I say this so that you know I deeply cherish YOU specifically, individually, you aren’t just the “third of seven”, you are my one and only Grace Lillian. My daughter, my friend. It’s my joy to love and care for you, and the rewards you give in return, just by being your own wonderful self, are uncountable.

When I think back, I remember a small pregnancy (my tummy always measured small with you & a lady at church never even realized I was going to have another baby until she saw the birth announcement in the bulletin, she wrote me a note saying “where were you hiding baby Grace?”), a small newborn (only 5 lbs, 13 oz), and a tiny girl (so petite, Grandma gently wondered in every conversation if I was “feeding you enough”—-I was!! of course I was)!

It’s no wonder the quote, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” reminds me of you. You have a zest for life and seem to be tireless with all the things you take responsibility for, and you never give up on the things you know need to be done. (this is sometimes annoying).

You have made a difference in numerous lives, and I am thankful to God that you’ve made a difference in mine. I learn just as much from you as you do from me. I am honored to take the things I see in you and “keep them in my heart” and I thoroughly believe that God gave me you and your siblings because He knew I could learn no other way what the realities of life with Him can truly be. I was born to be your mother.

I always have my birthday child in mind, when their special day comes around. My heart is bursting with thankfulness as I think about that priceless life I have been able to keep for just a little while. I take out the baby books and read the journals and the blogs about that special someone. I have been doing this lately in your honor, my November baby, here at home, studying your photos, your smile, thinking about the ways you have made your way through life so far, seeing the little signs of you all around the house. I took out the journal I kept from when I was a very young mom, pregnant for you, while caring for a 2 year old Jacob, and a one year old Ethan and read it, relished it, feeling like it was yesterday, amazed.

Later that day, your Dad sat on the couch next to me. The diary was still on the coffee table and I considered…….He’s never read my private journals, he knows they are mine and he respects that, I never thought to offer them to him. They are my own ramblings and scratchings of daily life, but I thought “maybe he would enjoy a glimpse back in time” so I handed him the book………

He sat and read with an amusement and interest I have never seen him have over the written word. “This is more interesting than a History book,” he said. He laughed at the antics of the boys, and my funny remarks about their mischief. He was truly disappointed in the times he would turn the page and find that “four years have passed”.

He read a lot of it out loud to us, laughing to tears, but the tears that came when he got to this part showed how much his little girl means to him:

“Grace is four years, five months. She’s starting Kindergarten this fall. Her hair is down her back, she wants to grow it out. She’s very sweet and I enjoy watching her and her Daddy interact. She has her own room, collects Minnie Mouse, (sometimes we call her ‘Minnie’), she likes to play with her dolls, and adores her baby brother David.”

April 15 2004, shanda’s diary

His voice broke and tears rolled down his face. Sarah asked in wonder, “are you crying Dad?” and he (flat out lied) said, “no”. But he was, and for the rest of the journal he was sober and serious.

Life truly passes by quickly, and it’s okay. It’s the way God made life. It’s a blessing and a good thing that our days are numbered. “….so that we may grow in wisdom…”

Love is beautiful and what makes life worthwhile. (God IS love) We love you Grace, and want you to know we are here cheering you on in every messy-beautiful thing you do, good or bad, safe or unsafe. (preferably unsafe) *wink*

Happy birthday dearest girl.

6 thoughts on “it’s a love without end

  1. This is so beautiful and perfect, Shanda. ❤ You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself.

    Happy Birthday, Grace, and may God's blessings be upon you this day and every day. You are beautiful, inside and out.

  2. I love that your husband was so delighted with your writing about your children, and then so moved by his love for you all. Such a reminder that our writing is so powerful! Not to mention the beautiful post for your daughter about how much she means to you. Such a reminder about what is important in our lives!

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