Happy birthday to you, Gracie!
It sounds cliche, but honestly. . .where have sixteen years GONE?

It seems like yesterday- July 15, 1996 – I was FINALLY in labor (you were a whole 3 days late but it seemed like an eternity!) at WRMC.
After such a long wait, July 15th went by in a flash. What I wouldn’t give to go back and relive that day! Everything went like clockwork. Labor was easy, our nurse was fantastic, Grandma and Daddy were there with me the entire time. ( I nearly froze them out of the room-wimps!) Even Papa arrived just in time.

Your birthday was one of the most peaceful and joyful experiences of my life. Once you were here, I couldn’t get enough of you. You were perfect in every way. Your thick head full of dark hair was a surprise to everyone. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “look at all that HAIR!” we wouldn’t need to worry about college scholarships!

I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised that you– the child I prayed for, longed for, and dreamed about, the child that came so peacefully into the outside world from within my body, the child I jokingly tell people was switched at birth (because you are so beautiful and you sing like an angel, you couldn’t possibly come from this gene pool!) — I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we apparently share the same brain! One of my greatest joys is the way we burst into laughter with just a glance, both of us thinking the same hilarious thought at precisely the same moment. Or how we both make the same offhand comment, without even really thinking about what we are saying, only to hear those words echoed simultaneously from the other.

I want you to know, on your 16th birthday, that I would give you the world (or a car) if I could. But that is not how the world works. But Daddy and I have given you all you need: unconditional love, an extended family that loves you as well, a home to be safe and to be yourself in, and most importantly- a foundation of faith to grow from.

I’m incredibly proud to be your mom, proud of the decisions you’ve made, proud of the woman you are becoming.  I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE you, and always will!

Remember this: You are only young once, but can remain immature indefinitely!