11 years old. Full of fire and honey. The perfect mixture of precision and chaos. The balance between quiet and loud. A taste of witty and chilliness. You dance between compliant and stubbornness like a tango.
It’s interesting how spending the weekend watching your older siblings compete in their tournaments would actually make me realize how different you are from them.
You don’t ever really make it known that you need/want us there on the sidelines. You don’t seem to have time to worry about whether or not you have the largest fan group. When I see you competing, in elements that you excel at, I totally know where your head is.
You champ aren’t competing with others, you Kyre are always competing with yourself.
When you have finished playing your heart out on the field, you don’t look for praise, instead, our conversations are focused on the areas that you tell me you need to work on.
I have gotten to know you more as the older sibling to the babies since our mornings no longer consist of Cayden and Ezzy being around. Their high school and middle school schedules take them out of the house right when everyone else is waking.
There are mornings that I don’t have to think of a single thing to do because you have spent it getting your sisters ready or looking for areas to help ease the housework on me. Then there are mornings that I can’t get you to budge on one single request.
It’s been in the moments you realize I am completely overwhelmed and you have compassion on me that you are in the kitchen blasting music and singing along in perfect pitch. In fact, there have been moments that I have been surprised at the vibrato in your voice, something that many singers wish they had.
Listening to you pound out songs on your uke makes me smile and chuckle.
And then there is your artistry…
You were given an amazing opportunity to make a drum for a cultural studies program in school. You shared with me many times the excitement you had while working on it. One day out of the blue you told me there would be a presentation of the completed drums and of course, it fell on such a busy day of work for me. I told you that I prob wouldn’t be able to make it since you gave me less than 5 hours to clear my schedule.
What I found were two laser-focused eyes, searching the crowd for me. This was a big moment. You had put all your effort into the drum and then drew and painted it yourself.
When we locked eyes I realized something.
My presence is a need, actually, it’s a life source. Even if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable in that need.
So often you don’t advocate for yourself. You don’t ask for much. And when you finally have enough in you to say “I need…” it doesn’t come out gently. It comes out loud. It comes out emotional. It comes out big.
I am learning that when you hint towards a need, I really need to act on it and not wait for you to repeat yourself like boo will.
I left on a week-long work trip and as I was sitting alone in a hotel room, trying to find ways to adjust to not being interrupted non-stop by harneys, I recalled the last time I traveled a week away from you all.
You were 18 mos old. It was heartbreaking for you. You couldn’t understand why the person you loved more than anyone, including Naani, was gone. You were stuck with your dad, someone you tolerated.
When I returned from the week-long trip, you didn’t let go of me. I remember you were always touching me. You didn’t like it if I left the room.
The separation was too much for your tiny soul.
Now you are grown, you show us more times than not that you are tired of waiting on 6 Harneys to reach a consensus. You learned to make your own PB&J when you were 4. You built towers to get to things on the counters. You planned and invited your friends to your bday party this year, all by yourself.
I pray that you always know how uniquely made you are. I will always tell the story that you came when we least expected it. I will remind you that you were brought home from the hospital in the snow, something we promised to your siblings only to realize that was a risky promise to make.
You study people. You have better hearing than you let others know. You are always paying attention to others around you. Deciding whether to tuck away or to risk it and be in the mix.
Your gentle nature calls all creatures of the animal kingdom to your side.
Your reserved posture makes others wonder where they stand with you.
Your empathy calls those who have had their trust broken to know it can be rebuilt.
Your gift of healing has been seen as you have prayed for many and they have been healed.
You are 11 years old. You are entering into the tween years and longing to be just like your middle school sister. Yet there are parts of your childhood still clinging on.
I pray that this year you continue to know God as your Savior and more than anything, know without a shadow of a doubt that you don’t have to earn His love and grace, you don’t have to yell to get attention, and that you are more than enough.
Happy birthday Gracie Poo, we love you, and can’t imagine our lives without you