Take it from me, Gracie.

Gracie Laine,
Oh my goodness, sweetheart! Your birth has been a whirlwind of all things crazy and scary and, of course,  wonderful, too. I haven’t even met you yet because you’re being forced to fight for your breaths and to will your heart to continue beating – but Gracie, I love you already. And I know they’re probably not teaching you to read over in the NICU, but one day you’ll be able to, and I have some things I want to let you in on, little girl.

Firstly, I want to say we’re all really, really proud of you. You’ve proven that you have what it takes to stand up against whatever life throws at you- in your case, being thrown into life far before you’re ready. Let me tell you, this won’t be the first time that happens. There will be many, many times when your breath gets knocked out of you and you wonder how you’re supposed to keep breathing, exactly, when your world has changed so very much and you have no clue how to make it in such a great big scary place. But let me say that you have proven already that you can handle it: You haven’t stopped breathing. You’re plowing through it like a champ, because that’s what you are. And so hold on to that, Gracie. Don’t lose that fire and strength because you’ll need it. But I promise you one thing: coming through and ending up on the other side, breathing, is exhilarating. And after awhile, this world will start to feel more like home. And before you know it, you’ll love it. But until then? Just keep breathing.

One thing I should probably go ahead and warn you about is the family. (Look, all of the family just got a little miffed at me for telling you that, but they know it’s true!) Gracie, you’ve been born into this batty, stressful, insane collection of people. Man, I could tell you some stories! (One day, I will. I promise.) But Gracie, we’re strong, and we’re together, still. We stand behind each other, even when we’re not sure why or how, and even when we’ve sworn we won’t, we keep giving each other chances. No matter who’s done what to whom, when it counts, we show up. We wrap each other up and we share our strength until we’re strong again and ready for the next crazy thing that someone decides to do. I won’t tell you it’s easy- sheesh, your own birth has caused a mini uproar. I won’t tell you it’s always fun, because it’s certainly not that. I won’t lie and tell you that you won’t wish- sometimes multiple times day- that things were normal, that we weren’t who we are, but instead, completely different people who have their crap together. Trust me, love, I’ve been there. You know, I can’t tell you why I was born into this family, and not some other more picture-perfect group. But I know God placed me here, to love them, and to be loved by them, and He put you here, too. So Gracie, I can promise that we will try our very best to be everything good for you, but I know that sometimes we will fail. Sometimes you will be disappionted and sometimes, you will hurt because of the very people who are supposed to love and protect you the most. But I think that happens in every family, Gracie. And you’ll learn- you’ll learn to bear with us and to believe in us and when you fall down and don’t know what to do, we’ll help lift you back up. Mostly, we’ll love you with our whole hearts. We promise.

Gracie, most of all, I want you to know how much the Lord loves little you. I want you to know that while we love you more than we think possible, while we’ve been more worried and elated because of you than we could imagine, His love outloves ours a million fold. His joy over the perfect person you are can’t be measured. And when we’ve been useless and unable to do anything to help you, when we’ve had to depend on the doctors- He’s been holding you. His hands, Gracie, are the safest place you could ever, ever find. I hope that you’ll grow to find them again and again, that you won’t worry with looking in other places for this love, that He’ll be your refuge and strength and joy from the very beginning. I’m praying this for you, sweetheart.

Here’s all the advice I can give you: Love the Lord with all you have. Use that love to love your family, to love the people in your world until they can’t stand it any more. Don’t worry about how things will turn out, because as long as you’re glorifying God, things will turn out for the good, whether you understand it then or not. Gracie, sometimes you won’t ever understand, but don’t you dare give up hope. You just keep going forward until you adjust to your new world. And always, always keep breathing.

I can’t wait to see who’ll you’ll become.

All my love,
Aunt Lindsey

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