"Though she be but little, she is fierce."
The morning that we took Grace home from that hospital, she was barely six pounds. Her car seat threatened to swallow her whole, and she was so tiny that I was panicked over how the hospital could possibly let us take her home.
Didn't they know that neither of us knew anything about babies? We had no idea how to bathe a baby or breastfeed or bottle feed or deal with that scary belly button? We didn't know how to hold a baby or change diapers or swaddle or any of the stuff that you were obviously supposed to know- we knew puppies and kittens and how to tie our shoelaces, but not much more. I remember feeling like a nurse would surely notice that our friends had wheeled me out in a wheelchair with this precious cargo and come to snatch Grace out of our amateur hands.
They didn't. And she survived. Maybe even thrived, although we are too close to tell yet- that is one for the history books.
And here we are, eighteen years later. My Grace is still little, and she is indeed fierce. She is a little blonde whirlwind; she is my heart walking about freely in the world. Even as I still know every freckle and every scar down to the little one under her eyebrow, I realize that she is creating her own world, full of scars and freckles that I will not know.
We have raised, through all of our mistakes and inexperience, an amazing human being. She is wild and messy and flits from one experience to the next. But in her meanderings, she will search out the kid who needs a hug or kind word, stand up for the underdog, fight for what she needs to fight for, and keep trying to be the light. If a friend is broken and hurting, she will invite him into her world to remind him that he is loved. My Grace will talk someone out of driving drunk and pick them up, knowing full well that they will be sick but safe in her car. She will share her lunch with the kid who doesn't have lunch, and feel it is her mission to save every puppy/kitten/cat/dog in the world.
She will make many mistakes along the way, but that is what happens when you are a kid. You learn, and move on.
For you, Miss Grace, I wish the sun and the moon and the stars. I wish that you continue to be a fighter, and get back up every time you fall. I wish that you keep your fierceness always, because you are stronger than anyone I know. I wish that you keep your heart and arms open, so that you can experience all sorts of wonders on your path. I wish happiness and wisdom and as many puppies and kittens as you can hold. I wish that you keep learning from every experience. I wish that you continue to be the Graciest Grace you can be.
Happy Birthday, cupcake. Peace and love and bonfires and chocolate, XOXO.