Happy Birthday Lily Grace!
Today our baby is 9! Happy Birthday to our little Gracie!
It was Easter Sunday when our beautiful child decided it was (finally) time to meet us face to face. We knew that because I was waaaaaaay overdue (it was nearly a month), that Monday morning meant tests and an immediate birth-at the hospital, and probably not the way that we had wanted things to happen. Somehow, she sensed that, and announced her intentions on Saturday night. Our team was called, and two midwives, our doula (and video camera operator), and three out of the four of Steve's parents drove the distance to our apartment. We had delivered Lucy at a birth center, also with midwives, but decided that a home birth would be more to our liking the second time around. It was the perfect choice for us. I know it is not for everyone, but the entire experience was a joy. The grandparents took turns tending quietly to Lucy, who was 21 months old at the time, and helped her understand what was going on. She got to hold her sister when Lily was only a few minutes old, and didn't want anyone else to hold "her baby". That was the start of a great love affair, and I know that it was the right way to begin.
When Lily was born, everything was so clear to me. Sure, there were hormones flooding my brain, but I also saw this tiny angel who healed me with her very presence in our lives. Our family was complete. The only mistake I made was thinking that she was tiny. Well, compared to our toddler, she seemed very small. The midwives laughed, and brought out the fish scale. Hartley babies are not small. This "tiny" baby was 9 pounds, and gorgeous. How did both of my children arrive with such dark, such thick, hair? Wide-eyed, alert, and snuggled next to Dad in an instant (he actually delivered Lucy, but with Lily, he got to watch in a mirror as he helped me deliver while standing. Yes. Standing up. Basic physics, people, and probably not good knit blog material, but think about it).
Anyway, we are continually amazed and so grateful to have her in our lives. We thought we'd take a minute to tell you some of our favorite, very random, Lily Grace moments. For those of you who know her, you won't be surprised by any of them. To those who know us only through the blogging world, it will help you understand a little about who she is, and why we are the kind of family that we are. And by that I mean strange. Or, as a friend told us last night, "so normal, so healthy, it's weird". We take that as a compliment.
Lily Grace was known as Gracie for the first 7 years of her life. Having a Lucy and a Lily was just too much for us verbally. But when we moved to Arizona, she chose to go by Lily, which was fine with us. For a long time, people who met us thought that we had a third child named Gracie who always stayed home by herself. Probably in a cage.
Our little Grace has always be the adventure seeker in the family. She could crawl at 5 months, and continually got her head stuck behind the toilet. We still don't know what she was looking for back there.
By 8 months of age, she was walking, and running at 9 months. We could not then, nor can we now, keep up with her.
When Lily was 4, she went to school for the first time. It was a full day school, five days a week (all pleasant plans of home-schooling our two children vanished on the day I changed 52 diapers in a 24-hour period. And they were cloth diapers. I really, really needed to know that there would be some rest in my future before they were ready for college). But our girls couldn't just go to a regular school, they weren't old enough. But they could read, and needed a challenge. So, French school for them, with no English spoken until they are in first grade. Remember, we speak NO French at home.
Anyway, we nervously arrived to pick her up at the end of the day. One by one, the other pre-schoolers filed out, most of them crying. The ones that weren't in tears looked shocked. But then Gracie ran out of the room and into our arms. "It was great!!!" she exclaimed. "I didn't understand a word!"
She's kept that great attitude about school every year, and counts the days until vacations are over so she can get back to her social life, and learn a little more about life. She has gone from digging at recess and smuggling home rocks and bricks to teaching her teachers and friends how to knit. Walking into the school or any school event with Lily is like being on the Red Carpet on Oscar Night. She meets and greets like someone running for the senate, but she's earnest. As anyone who knows her can tell you, she is a true friend to all.
Thank you, Lily, for making us all whole. Your smile, your wit and wisdom, and your joyful experience of life is a lesson that can't be forgotten, no matter what else is. I love you, my sweet Henri Violette. We all do. We love you so much, we are ready to help you knit that platypus.
XOXOXOXOXOXOX- and HLB,
Mom, Dad, and Lucy.