I remember the first time that I saw her. Just a little blip on the ultrasound monitor. Our “butterbean”. Her daddy and I looked with wide-eyed wonder at the little life we had created.
She may have been microscopic, but she did big things for our marriage. She centered us. Gave us focus. Helped get bathrooms updated, rooms painted, and floors finished in our first little project house. Before she even arrived she was already busy getting things done.
Our birth and bonding experience didn’t go exactly the way I had imagined. I had envisioned hour after sweaty hour of pain and noise and pressure, downing ice chips and choking back swear words directed at my husband, covered in tears and fear followed closely by relief, love, and awe.
What actually happened when she was born was wonderfully different and no less amazing. In a sterile surgical environment with a drape obscuring my view, I heard everything and felt nothing for the most part. The pain medication reduced my childbirth experience to pulling and tugging and medical chatter beyond the drape, my husband taking it all in, holding my hand, and quipping with the doctor and nurses gathered around me.
I may have been numb, but I could feel the exact moment she was born. I was awash with emotion. I felt her tiny little body leave the safety of mine with a fast tug and then I heard her first cry. She was here. Our daughter was here.
Emalee Grace was here.
It’s been 9 years since the day she arrived and I am still in awe of my daughter.
Our first few months together are still a blur to me. I remember lots of crying. For both of us. Between my healing, her nursing constantly and our erratic sleep habits, we were a mess. The pain of childbirth for me seemed to come harder long after she was born.
Daily I was reminded of her name: Grace.
An unmerited gift.
Oh how I needed Grace in those days.
I am still reminded each and every day since her birth that we received more than we were promised when she came into our lives.
Emalee has grown into a smart, charming, funny, kind, friendly, thoughtful, talkative, deep, caring, vivacious, and beautiful young lady. She LOVES to read and typically has 3 or 10 books going at once. She is a great big sister to her little brother – but their bond is starting to show a little strain now that he’s pushing back a little when she gives her orders.
To say that Emalee is a born leader would be putting it mildly. She takes charge. Loves to be in command. She isn’t always the best listener, but she will hear everything that you say.
Grace is a word that she and I have discussed since we were able to talk about it.
“Mommy, why did you name me Grace?” is one of her favorite questions when she’s quizzing me (because she loves to hear the answer).
I tell her each and every time, “Because grace means getting something that you don’t deserve. And that’s what God gave us when you came along.”
I never imagined that being her mother would take so much from me and give me so much more in return.
I treasure this gift. This gift that is my daughter. This living, breathing, laughing, sweet fireball of Grace.
Happy birthday, Emalee. Your Daddy and I love you so very much.