Monday, January 17, 2011

Gracie’s dresses

A 6-month dress that Gracie never got to wear.
Today I decided to dust in Gracie’s room. All of her things are still there, and we try and keep it as clean as possible. It’s still, and always will be her room. I started opening her drawers and then found myself carefully inspecting and folding all of her clothes. Considering she left this Earth at the tender age of three months, many, many of her dresses she never got to wear. So many wonderful people sent her the most beautiful clothes, and of course, mommy could never resist buying her, yet another cute dress. I loved to buy her clothes in bigger sizes and imagine what she would look like in them down the road. Today, I found myself looking at the dresses, and, once again, wondering what she would have looked like in them. She would have been wearing six-month clothes now. Although most of her milestones were markedly delayed, she was growing, thriving, and Brien and I were so pleased when her newborn dresses no longer fit.

I’m torn as to what to do with Gracie’s dresses. I don’t want to give them away, for selfish reasons I believe they belong to her. Sometimes I think maybe, someday, she will have a little sister who will wear those dresses. However, I also know that the sad reality is that there are many factors not working in our favor right now and future children may not be in the cards. This breaks my heart. I don’t think that Gracie can be replaced by any means, but I do think that a future child would, somehow, remind me of her and maybe give us part of her back. Maybe the child would have her bright blue eyes, her soft hair, or her quiet and knowing spirit. A new child, a new life, would bring new hope for us. From what I am reading and hearing from other mothers who have lost a child, this is a very common feeling.

Looking at Gracie’s pink dress reminded me of one of the days that I believe was one of the best for her. This was her spa day with our friends Sarah and Audrey. She absolutely loved the pampering that day as was evident in her pictures and her alertness that day couldn’t be denied. After her spa time, we dressed her up in that pink dress and, of course, took many pictures. She was truly excited and happy that day as we opened a ton of gifts we received from the Children’s Wish Foundation. I think she really felt our love that day, she was the center of attention, and I’d like to think she felt beautiful all dressed up! We all certainly thought she was quite adorable.

Since Gracie passed away, I have to admit, there haven’t been many days where I’ve felt like dressing up. My wardrobe of choice these days usually consists of sweats and t-shirts except for the standard work attire. However, recently, on Christmas Eve, Brien and I got dressed up and had dinner out along with a carriage ride in Old Sacramento. We started a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve, and my present just happened to be some sleek black dress boots! If you read Brien’s Christmas Story blog, you know that we got the greatest Christmas present that evening. I’d like to think that Gracie was happy to see her parents dressed up and content spending a quiet Christmas Eve together.

So, this week, take a day to dress up for Gracie. She hopes it will boost your attitude, increase your confidence, and bring you much happiness. Dressing for success can certainly make a difference in your life.

“Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important” ~Janet Lane

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Baker's Dozen

The day that Grace passed away, I baked brownies. I didn't know what else to do. It was a Saturday and that day was always devoted to taking care of, and spending quality time with Grace. We no longer had her there to take care of and the thought of moving forward with taking care of any funeral arrangements was just too much to bear. It was raining and cold. Brien made a fire and I baked brownies. We spent the next week eating those brownies and going through the motions of trying to plan a perfect memorial for our little angel.

Yesterday I baked again. Not brownies this time but just some cookies from a box. I'm not a great baker by any means, probably because I don't have the patience or the eye for perfection that most great bakers possess. However, when looking through Grace's pictures yesterday, an overwhelming feeling of sadness suddenly crept up once again. I suddenly remembered how sweet she was and got that urge to bake again. I took my time making each cookie the exact same size and meticulously rolled each one in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. To my surprise, they came out perfect with a crunchy exterior edge and a chewy, but not too gooey inside. It was hard to eat just one. Luckily, one of our friends had a birthday party last night so we brought the cookies to her. Our friend, Alex, loves cookies...she's also a foodie and enjoys cooking. When we arrived her kitchen smelled wonderful....she was making soup and the aroma of the onions and garlic marinating was intoxicating. Alex loves to cook for her friends (so thankful that I am one of them!) and she is one of the most truly caring and giving people that I know. She is always doing thoughtful things for other people and I hope she knows those acts are not unnoticed! We continue to be more blessed and amazed every day with all of our friendships.

So, yesterday, I was reminded of the Christmas legend, the Baker's Dozen. The once curmudgeon baker learned his lesson that you should always give what is needed.....and then a little more. Once the baker learned to give more, his business thrived and he received much more good fortune in return. Although the holidays are now over, maybe it's a good time for you to bake something for a friend, or just reach out and offer them a helping hand or an ear to listen. I believe it is Grace's wish that you receive good fortune, and also give of yourself, just a little bit more.