Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby Signs

Baby Signs is a sign language program developed to help infants communicate long before they are able to communicate verbally. This system is often very helpful for parents of children who are speech delayed. It gives a child who is not yet successful verbally another means to express himself and often helps the child become less frustrated, and, more importantly help strengthen the bond between parent and child that is developed through successful early interactions. Although Grace never had the opportunity to learn Baby Signs, I think that she has communicated with us this past week in her own ways, sending us her own “Baby Signs,” during this week, the anniversary of her birth.

As many of you know, Brien and I have been searching for another home for quite some time now. We have had many disappointments along the way, more than one house that we tried to purchase fell through for reasons that we had no control over. It has been a very long and frustrating process and each day that passes we have been growing more and more doubtful that we will find a house that will work for us. Last weekend, we looked at a couple more houses, and one of them was on a street named Halo Ave. The house was still occupied and one of the rooms was decorated in pink with a Tinkerbell boarder on the wall. I opened the closet to see how big it was and was immediately awestruck by a closet full of the prettiest pink infant dresses. Now you’d think that would have maybe upset me or made me sad, but, for some reason it didn’t. Instead, I had a very peaceful feeling in that room, and in every other room of that house. Today, on Grace’s birthday, we received a call from our agent who told us it looked hopeful that our offer was going to be accepted for the house on Halo Ave. Of course, we aren’t getting our hopes us because it is a short sale, so the bank has to approve the sale and hardship of the owner, etc. and we have been burned before by banks selling houses at auction that we were supposed to buy. But…I can’t help thinking maybe our angel Grace brought us to the house on Halo Ave. I wouldn’t mind having that address at all. Baby Sign number one.

Baby Signs numbers two and three came earlier this week at work. One of my clients brought her sister with her to therapy this week. Her sister and mom sat knitting in the waiting room while my client and I had our session. At the end of the session both sister and mom came back to the room. Her sister had a cute little blue baby bonnet that she was proud to show me she had completed. She asked if I knew anyone who could use the bonnet. Immediately, I remembered Gracie’s cute pink baby bonnet we received when she was born. I told her that Kaiser has some great volunteers who knit bonnets for babies and maybe she could donate her bonnet to a local hospital. She thought his was a good idea and replied “I have four more at home!” Then she asked if we wanted the bonnet for Bodie, our therapy dog. She brought much humor to a situation that she had no idea was probably tough for me to talk about. Gracie’s pink bonnet will surely go into her hope chest later today as we begin packing up her things.

Baby Sign number three I’ll leave right now as “to be continued,” as this will probably be a whole other post in itself. For now, I am comforted to know that she is still with us in many ways. We just have to continue to look for the signs and discover our own truth in the meanings.


  1. Love you Holly, as always thank you for sharing. You, Brien and Gracie have been a wonderful Blessing in my life and such an inspiration. I just want to thank you for being such amazing people! Love ~ stephanie

  2. Happy Birthday sweet angel Gracie! Praying the house on Halo Ave. comes through for you and Brien. Sounds like the perfect place...and I do believe in signs!

  3. just to briefly introduce myself, my name is laeta morskate, my daughter has juvenile arthritis and I am a member of an online support group. One of the members yesterday, made me aware of your family and your story, so,
    yesterday I started reading Grace's blog. From the first post to the last.I am very moved by your story. Usually I will leave it at that and move on with my life. However, reading your post today and all the hidden Gracie moments in there, I thought I'd share what happened after I was finished reading your blog.
    I was done reading just after midnight. Officially the day Grace was born had begun. I felt overwhelmed and sad, but also inspired after reading your amazing story. I wasn't ready to go to bed because there was too much going on in my brain. I decided to read the Dutch news paper, online, since I live in Canada, but still connected to the motherland! It is nice to read at night what is going on in the new morning in Holland. Not too many interesting things, but then my eye fell on an article about a special butterfly that was born in a butterfly garden in London (england) It was a double gender butterfly, with one half male and one half female, the wings were different in color and pattern one antenna was longer than the other and it had a line in the middle of its body. There is a scientific name for it but I can't remember. This butterfly is extremely rare and it only occurs in about 0,01% of all butterflies, so it happening in a botanical garden was very exciting. This special butterfly will only have a very short life to live. The butterfly garden will give the butterfly the opportunity to to live it's life and when it dies, they will display it and the butterfly will become an inspiration and an example for years to come. After reading this story it appeared to me how short Grace's life has been, but how much she still today, and for many more years to come, is a great example of courage and beauty and will teach us many important lessons. this tiny little life she lived, with this rare condition has been an unforgettable one.
    Like I stated in the beginning of my post, our family struggles with my daughter's health, it is frustrating and it hurts to see your "baby"(she is 14 now) suffer, but I am ever so grateful that we get to go through this as a family and that every night I can hold and hug my girl.
    I wish you well, your whole family, and about those baby signs; I believe Grace would love to see her family grow........

  4. gynandromorphic that is the term I was looking for. Google it and look at the beautiful butterfly pictures it will show you.

  5. Laeta,

    Thank you for your story. It means so much to us to know people still read Gracie's Journey and it has impacted their lives. Grace has taught so many people how precious life is and not to take it for granted. It made me smile knowing you get to hold and hug your daughter everyday. We still consider ourselves very grateful for the 14-weeks we had Grace.

    I will look up that butterfly too.