It's forever embedded into my memory and I know as long as I live I'll remember it. I may one day forget the details - the date, her exact age, but I don't think I'll ever forget her words. I pray I don't. I pray they stay with me and push me to become a better person, a better mother, a better wife, a better Christian, a better friend. Last Saturday I was hurrying along trying to get things done, get the kids fed, dressed, and out the door so we could go see Grace's cousin's cheer performance. Lance was still out of town for work so it was a little crazier than usual.
Although we were busy, we were having a particularly lovely morning, you know lovely in the way that the kids were both happy and cooperating, breakfast went well, clothes were all set out from the night before and so on. As I'm making my final round before packing everyone in the car, grabbing a juice cup for Grace and a bottle for Hudson, IT happened. (Why so much detail, you ask? Remember, I want to remember this moment forever and one of these days I'm going to have this blog printed into a book/scrapbook - there's a site that does that!)
Without so much as skipping a beat, dollie in hand, wearing her red coat and pink tights, Grace turned to me and said, "I want to be just like you Mama", flashed me a smile and then skipped along to wait for me by the back door just like I'd asked her. My heart stopped for a second and I fought back tears. Tears of joy, love, pride, AND responsibility. You see this little girl changed my life the day she came into this world. I want so much more for her than what I am. It is me who wants to be pure in spirit like she is. I want to truly love unconditionally like she does. I want to find beauty in every little thing.
I want to sing Jesus loves Me at the top of my lungs when I get in trouble. I want to wake up each morning and when asked if I had sweet dreams reply "Oh, YES! Yes, I did!" I want to believe with my whole heart so that when the ducks finally make their way to the roadside so that we can see them on the way to school 3 weeks after we first started looking, I can say "I told you they would come!" I want to ask for cuddles and snuggle time without hesitation like she does. I want to remember the night last week that when she woke up in the middle of the night scared and called for me, I ran in there to hear her say in her sweet, sticky, just-awake voice "Will you cuddle and snuggle with me Mama?" and then I want to remember how I climbed in bed with her (instead of just telling her it was still nighttime and we needed to go back to sleep until the sunshine came out) and gently stroked her hair, taking in her sweet smell until she drifted to sleep, but not before whispering "I love you Mama" while holding my hand to her heart.
I want to always think of others and share my food like she does. Every single time. Even if it means taking a half-eaten cracker out of her mouth to give it to me or her daddy, saying "You want to share with me?" except it's not really a question, it's a statement. One for which she never takes no for an answer, "Yes, you do. Here - this is for you." and then after you take the food she says "It was good, wasn't it? Want some more?" I want to see my friends at church and be so happy that I loudly greet them and wave to them...even if we're quietly making our way to Communion. I want to say bye and wave to every last person no matter where I am and flash them a genuine smile like she does, getting oh so happy when one waves back "She waved at me! She said bye to me!"
I want to enjoy "just one sweeeeeet chocolate treat" (hershey's kisses) out of Mrs. Cheryl's bowl at school not thinking about the calories but just the taste "mmmm, it's so good Mama". And then run back to grab one more for Mimi or for Noonie who are waiting at home, always thinking of someone to share her food with.
I want to love and accept others even when it means giving away some of my time or not doing something I want to do. I want to always remember her love for her baby brother, the way she calls him "her little fella" and rubs his head, the way she always kisses and hugs him, even if it means great big bear hugs with her whole weight on his squirmy little body. I want to remember the way she makes giant tiptoe steps when I tell her we must not wake him only to call out (loudly) right when we're near him "Is he asleep, Mama?" :) I want to memorialize in my mind her climbing the bottom rail in Hudson's crib, holding on tight to peek at him over the top and tell him "It's alright little brother. There's no need to fuss." while I warmed up his bottle. I want to be pure in spirit and honest like she is. I want to not let things get to me. I want to be able to apply her "That's okay Mama, it was just an accident" potty training mentatility to bigger things and situations in my life.
I want to open my heart to feel angels all around me like I know there are. I want to remember the day a couple of weeks ago that she was giggling in the other room and I asked her what she was doing expecting some kind of mischief and she told me she was talking to Abuelito (my grandpa who passed away in 2005). Doubting, I asked her "What did he say?" to which she replied, "Nothing. He just smiled at me." Doubting again, I asked her "What did you say to him?" to which she replied, "I told him I want the pig's very long nose book". That's as honest as they come. She has told everyone and I mean everyone about that book!
I pray that she uses her energy, her temper, her determination for good. That it helps her overcome obstacles that might deter others when it comes to helping those in need. I pray that she continues to find happiness in the little things and never becomes embarassed to show her happiness and share it with others. I pray that love never leaves her heart and that her eyes never leave His Sight. My sweet Grace, I want to be just like you. Thank you for teaching me so much often without saying a word. I love you with all my heart to the moon and back and then again and again...