I want a full-length movie to watch, over and over again, showing the memories that I hold so dear. I want to freeze time; I want to squeeze those fat cheeks and look in those precious, big brown eyes and just "be" there again.
Abbey Grace has been such a joy to raise. We are older parents, and we thought for sure we would be blessed with a lap baby; an I-want-to-be-held-and-cuddled-at-all-times baby, but God apparently thought that would be way too easy. "If she's awake, she's moving," is our motto for her since the day she was born. We blame it on the Brethine I had to take while on bed rest with her. Brethine is a medicine I received that is supposed to prevent contractions, and it did accomplish that for a few weeks, but oh my goodness, it made her jump like a kangaroo inside of me! So we laughingly say her activity level is a result of those weeks of a foreign substance in her bloodstream, but truly, we know why she is the way she is-- God, the maker of heaven and earth, also made our precious Abbey to be active, alert, inquisitive, athletic and happy. And for that, we are so grateful.
Today, at 10 years old, she still likes her parents. :) She still wants to be near us, go places with us, sleep with us (if we let her), and is very uncomfortable being away from home for more than a few hours. I love that she acts her age--that she has not had to grow up before her time, nor be something she shouldn't have to be at such a young age.
I often compare her to myself at that same age, and we are different in so many ways. Thankfully, Abbey has not had the same drama and traumas of childhood that I had to face by my tenth birthday. While those experiences helped shape who I am today, I am still very appreciative that she has had a boring, protected, and normal childhood. Life will get hard soon enough for her.
To say she loves the animal kingdom and her precious pets would be the understatement of the year. From her first baby animals board book and Baby Einstein videos as a toddler, she has been telling anyone who would listen about tapirs, meerkats and lemurs. She would rescue every single dog and cat from the animal shelter if we would allow it. She finds beauty in buzzards circling overhead; she stops what she's doing to tell me random facts about the animal kingdom: "Hey, Mama? Did you know a sperm whale can swim 3 mph?!"
To watch her learn about the outdoors with her daddy has been another of my greatest joys with her. She has been on the river with us since she was literally six weeks old, and is very comfortable there. She is now an accomplished bass master, and gets excited when we even drive by some water with a patch of lily pads: "I need to be throwing my lure out there and skipping it across them!" And yes, she can identify species and genders of fish better than some grown men!
Abbey loves the Lord and believes in Jesus Christ and His saving power. It is not uncommon to see her with her Bible outside, telling stories to the neighborhood kids while they shoot basketball or are playing catch all around her. One time I saw her with strips of paper and pen and she was writing fast and furiously on them. I asked what she was doing: "I'm making a Bible quiz for the boys to answer!" (The "boys" are the neighborhood kids.)
She asks me deep questions like, "Do you think Cain ever asked for forgiveness? Do you think he got to go to heaven? What are the dimensions of heaven? If God created everybody, why are there bad people in the world?" [Yes, I have my pastor on speed dial.]
Although she is an energetic child, she was born almost five weeks early, and her lungs have never quite recovered--she has been severely asthmatic since birth. Eight hospital visits related to breathing problems are enough for any little baby. She can still show you the scars on her hands from so many IVs.
Last year our toughest moment with her was watching her recover from a ruptured appendix. Eight days in the hospital due to complications were enough to make us all stay on our knees before the One who could heal her. Praise the Lord, He did, and we are so thankful.
And one last thing I want you to know about Abbey: she saved our marriage. Well, God saved our marriage, but Abbey was certainly the catalyst that brought unity at a time we so desperately needed it. Because we brought so much unresolved baggage into our marriage, we began spiraling downward from the moment we said, "I do," so this (very planned) pregnancy was a reason to try harder; to pray harder; to love harder. She changed our lives forever, in a very good way.
The sobbing faces you see in the birth day pictures are the overwhelming emotion we felt about the IMPACT this little soul was making, not only at that moment, but also on the big picture of our lives.
We do not go a day without thanking God for her and all our children and how they have made our lives worth living.
Happy 10th Birthday, our beautiful Abbey Grace!
"Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children." Psalm 90:16
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