Dear Grace: you are five years old today. In the grand scheme of things five years doesn’t seem like that long, but it’s been quite the time. Five years ago when daddy and I drove away from the hospital with you I was frightened and panicked. Who would give me a baby? I didn’t know what to do with a baby! I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have babies yet and here you were. That first year was rough. You cried. ALL.THE. TIME. There were times I thought one or both of us wouldn’t make it out alive. That first year is the reason I know no matter how close I get to the brink of insanity, I won’t go over.

Lately, I find myself saying to your dad “Look at Grace, she’s like a little person now” You have grown into an inquisitive, sometimes overly sensitive, artistic and kind (when you want to be) little girl. Your endless stream of art projects never ceases

June 8 2011. Fabulous shirt courtesy Lauren Kropf.

to amaze me.

Last year we  brought Janie home on your birthday. You were so excited to have a little sister, but I was still worried you would be sad or hurt we overshadowed your big day by bringing Jane home. But not you. You climbed right up on that couch and demanded to hold your little sister. You looked at her with such awe and love it nearly broke my heart. And you have been right there for her every day since, letting her follow you around, looking out for her to be ‘in danger’, always the first one with a toy or silly song to cheer her up. She is so lucky to have you. You are the best big sister ever, ever, ever.

The last five years have seen a lot of changes for you, but they have been pretty life altering for me as well. Thanks for letting me practice my mommy skills on you, thanks for all the hugs you give me at 5:30 a.m. and all the times you make me slow down and play with you. I’m so very excited to see how you turn out in the end. You know, when you’re 18. Cause you can’t live here much longer than that. Love you the mostest, Mom.

June 9, 2006. Note the size of the hands in relation to the tiny baby.

October 28, 2007

June 8 2010