Friday, February 28, 2014

Grace

Mike got home late Tuesday night.  His trip was a good one overall.  I think we are closer to making a decision about where we will move but I will let him do another post and write about that.  Tuesday was the pinewood derby.  Will did not really do very well and he was trying hard not to be disappointed.  He told me that he felt kind of sick to his stomach but then he told himself it was his first year and it was just a competition and really didn't matter.  It's hard to see your kids learn those lessons about losing but I'm proud of him for trying to be such a good sport.  He did win a few of the races and I think he was grateful for those few races that he won.  Mike had forgotten to put weights on the car--he didn't realize he would be in Tennessee during the pinewood derby and he had planned on weighing the car and then drilling holes and putting in pennies.  Anyway, I didn't even realize that Will's car needed anything else.  I had heard of people putting weights on their cars but assumed that since Mike hadn't done any that it didn't need any and we went to the church and discovered Will's car was way too light.  I didn't even realize that was a problem and then suddenly a few dads were working on Will's car in a mad dash to get it heavy enough to not get disqualified.  I guess it was pretty obvious that this was my first cub scout and that I really had no clue what pinewood derbys required.

I took some pictures but I was struggling with Piper and none of them turned out well (good thing I am taking a photography class.  Maybe my pictures will improve).



In other news, I've begun to babysit a friend's daughter on Wed. for an hour while my friend volunteers at her children's school.  This friend and I had babies two days apart.  When I moved to this ward I went with Laila to the mother's lounge and saw this woman feeding her baby.  Her baby looked so similar to Laila.  She had a ton of black hair, just like her mom.  For the next few weeks we started to become friends while we nursed our babies.  Then she went to Chicago with her family for a week and Laila died.  My friend heard the news while in Chicago.  She cried for me and wanted to call but didn't know if I would want her to call me.  I was worried she wouldn't call because she wouldn't know what to say.  I remember saying to Mike, "We just moved here and we don't have any friends or family here.  And now no one will want to be my friend because they will all not know what to say and avoid me in the hallway"  (I was very wrong and never could have imagined how the women in this ward would open their hearts to me and befriend me when I needed it the most).  I was so thankful for her bravery when she did call me from Chicago to tell me how sorry she was and that she was sorry she wasn't here to come to the funeral.  Later she and another friend invited me to come walking with them in the mornings.  My friend was worried I wouldn't want to be friends with her because her daughter looked so similar to Laila and was only two day older.  She worried that her daughter would be a sad reminder to me of what I was missing.  Truthfully, I worried about it too but hoped I would be able to make the separation in my mind.

On those walks I got to watch Grace grow from a baby to a toddler.  Instead of feeling jealous or sad when I saw Grace, I found my heart to feel very tender towards her.  And also, a miraculous thing happened.  Grace's hair turned from black to blond.  My friend has jet black hair.  Her husband has dark brown hair.  All of her children have black or brown hair.  But Grace has blond hair.  My friend told me she always wondered if it was God giving me a tender mercy so that I wouldn't have to see a little black-headed Grace traipsing all over and think of Laila every single time.  I think she is right.

Well, now Grace is almost three and she is talking and running and jumping.  She comes to my house with snacks to share with Piper and today she said, "I get to see baby Pipah and I going to give her hugs and kisses."  She invites Piper to play in the basement with her or to swing on the swings at the park with her.  Piper just follows her around.

I can't help but have tender feelings when Grace is here.  It is a little bittersweet.  I can't help but think about Laila and how Laila would be inviting Piper to come play in the basement or swing on the swings.  But on the other hand I often grieve about the fact that Piper does not have a sister to play with.  I feel the void that Laila has left in our family.  I wonder what Laila would act like now--what would she be saying?  What would she like and dislike?  Would she be chill like Will or firey like Piper?  In a weird way having Grace here and seeing her play with Piper makes me feel a sense of peace about not knowing.  It doesn't make it better but it allows me a glimpse into how it would be.  And weirdly enough, instead of making me really sad, it calms my heart in a way.

I really appreciate my friend allowing me to "borrow" Grace.  I will always feel tender feelings for little Grace and the way that she steers my thoughts toward Laila and allows me to imagine how things would be.  Interestingly enough, Grace means do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence.


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