Gracie is no ordinary child. She's kind of like a little miracle in our family. There are five of us siblings--me, Carina, Sidney, Cee Ryle, and Gracie--and everyone but Gracie is pretty close in age. We all range from 20 (almost 21 mind you) to 13 years old and we all pretty much grew up together. My parents actually always wanted six kids. Some of you might think five or six is a lot, but trust me, it's so fun. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way! After Cee Ryle, it was really hard though, because my parents kept trying to have children, and they were successful, at first. My mom sadly had a lot of miscarriages, which was really hard on them, but also for my siblings and I. We all really wanted more kids! My brother specifically wanted another brother.
I think maybe after the first miscarriage, I decided that every month I was going to fast to have another baby in the family. To explain, in our church on the first Sunday of every month we have fast Sunday where every able member (so everyone eight and older, because that's when you usually get baptized and become a member) of the church refrains from eating for 24 hours or like two meals. When you fast, it's to bring you closer to the Lord and it's for a specific purpose for whatever you need in your life at the time. Like when someone in the ward (which is our church community) is really sick or struggling, on certain occasions, everyone fasts for that person to get better. Fasting is sort of like added strength to your prayers. Also when we fast, we pay fast offerings, which is money for the food we would have eaten that day. (If you have any questions about this, you can ask me in a comment or email!)
So for a long time, every single first Sunday of the month, I would fast and pray so hard to have a baby in our family. I think I fasted for like 4-5 years. It was really hard, but I never gave up. I'll never forget the happiness and excitement I felt when I was fourteen years old and my parents told us we were having another baby. I was still really cautious, because of all the miscarriages. But when the baby kept staying healthy past the point that the other babies had miscarried at before, we started to feel so excited. I think with Gracie, it was different, because we had already experienced so much loss and it made me really scared to lose her. I wanted this little baby so bad.
|my crazy family in November right before Gracie was born|
|I love this picture because it's like she was saying hi :)|
Seriously though, I love that little girl more than anything in the world. We are best friends (no joke, she is my best friend!) and whenever I come home we have a lot of fun. We share a love for barbies, shopping, and dressing cute. She has the biggest attitude, and being the youngest by a long shot she definitely gets her fair share of spoiling, but we love her, so that's partially why. ;) Gracie for some reason loves Spiderman, so I got her a shirt that she wore yesterday :) She also loves getting her face painted, barbies (she loves them a lot, ok?), my little pony, purple, and Carrie Underwood. I definitely convinced her of the Carrie Underwood one but she came up with purple all on her own! It's so cute, she always makes an effort to give me purple things, like a purple cup, purple vitamins, or point out to me that she's wearing a purple shirt.
One of my favorite and funniest memories with Gracie is when I convinced her to be my roommate here at BYU. Somehow I legitimately convinced her that being with me all the time, having no parents to tell her what to do, and being at BYU would be the best thing ever. She was totally on board and was asking my parents if she could be my roommate! It was pretty sad when I had to convince her to not be my roommate after that (my mom wasn't too happy haha) and tell her she'd have to pay rent and she'd be gone from her parents and she wouldn't have been able to go to preschool. She cried because she wanted to be my roommate so bad. Maybe one day when I'm old and settled she can come live with me for a summer or something!
Gracie and I are the best of the best and truest of the true friends you will ever find. She always tells me to come home "way soon" so we can see each other a lot. Whenever I do come home, we see each other and go "Eeeeee!!!" because we're so excited to be together again. We cry when I leave and it's sad. I really do miss her when I'm in Provo. The hardest thing about us being so far apart in age is that I only lived at home for a few years of her life, and she won't even remember any of that. I want to stay close like this for the rest of our lives and I will definitely make a huge effort to!
So here's to my best friend Gracie. May we always be best friends forever and have so much fun...I hope the special connection we have always stays there and only grows stronger. I love you so much...Grace, Gracie Poo, Crackadoodle (she loves that nickname for some reason), Gracie Gracie Goose. I saw her this past weekend at my cousin's baptism and I can't wait to go home on Saturday to see her again!