Look at my Peanut.
When I look at her, I see this…
And sometimes, I see this…
Or maybe this…
And, when the ovaries are particularly rambunctious, I see this…
But make no mistake. Gracie is eight, through and through these days.
Gracie has been shy to come out of her shell. I can remember sitting at her 3rd birthday party with her. We had rented out a My Gym location and invited 20 of her closest little friends from school and church. And it was Gracie’s worst nightmare! So much attention on her! So many people there for her! She spent most of the party sitting on my lap. And to honest, she still has this streak in her. When given the choice between sitting in my lap or doing just about anything else, Gracie still consistently chooses me.
My relationship with Gracie is unlike any I have had in my entire life. She is the only person – not even Chris! – who can get as close to me as she does. She has ZERO understanding of personal space and I have a very large personal bubble, but this doesn’t even register with her. In fact, when I tell her to get out of my bubble, she pretends to pop it and then falls into me and hugs tight. It’s the cutest thing ever. Her favorite thing to do when I tuck her in at night is to pull me face right next to her, so that we are nose to nose. And then we talk about our days together, right there. We have entire conversations with our faces practically touching.
In the past year, I have really seen Gracie come out of her little shell. She laughs louder now, talks more to others, and is braver in all kinds of little ways. Her sense of humor is also budding and blooming. She is the funniest thing ever and her sense of humor is smart and quick, which makes her funny to her friends, but even funnier to adults.
I have never been sad about my kids getting older, but this year with Gracie has prompted me to want time to slow down more than once. Maybe it’s because she is my baby. Maybe it’s because every time she gets older, I get older. Or, maybe it’s because I can’t imagine life ever being as sweet as it is with her right now.
But if birthdays and babies have taught me anything, it’s that each year brings new changes and stages and phases and each and every single one is better than the one before.
I can’t imagine what this next year with Gracie will look like. I imagine there will be lots of pink and headbands and purses and chapstick (which I have temporarily convinced her is real “lip gloss”). I imagine there will be broken hearts over friendships and friends, and maybe even the discovery of boys? I imagine there will be lots of laughing, lots of snuggles, lots of Starbucks, lots of Target runs, lots of yelling at her brother, and lots of loving on her daddy.
Whatever this year brings, I am beyond grateful that this beautiful, creative, smart, lovely girl is mine.
Happy birthday, Gracie Girl. xoxo