I'm sorry for this, but I'm going to have to post pictures of you on our blog. I know you won't be happy, but it's only because you don't see yourself the way I do. You are lovely and beautiful. You have loving smiling eyes, lovely soft skin, a sincere and perfect smile. I love your smile and your love of the color blue. I love the way your voice sounds when you are reading to Lila - it's the way it sounded when you read to me.
I love that you let us come and spend the afternoon with you the other day and that you didn't even flinch when Faith had a projectile spit-up incident all over you. I love that you keep a stash of chocolate chip cookies in your freezer for us.
I love that Lila gets to know you and the way you engage her in conversation. I love watching her do the things I remember doing myself with such weepy nostalgia: reading the Dragon books, playing with play dough up on your breakfast bar, coloring, playing in the Animal Room, sitting on the hassock in front of the blue chair, sitting on Pop's lap in his recliner, hunting for Easter eggs in your backyard, examining the collection of angels behind the glass door of the shelf, listening and dancing to records.
I love that she is creating her own habits at your house: spreading the chocolates around the living room for her own "egg" hunt, watching out the big windows for birds and squirrels, playing with the Noah's Ark set, meticulously setting up the pegs in the peg board.
I love the way you make me feel like she is the most talented and superb child in all of creation. You make me feel like a good mom. I love that you have an experienced and researched and tried and perfected understanding of preschoolers and that you share your wisdom without pretense or judgement.
I love that when many people were expressing their concern or fears over our plans to adopt Faith, you would call me and say things like, "I'm so proud of you. This is an eternal choice! She will be so loved!" I know that adopting a baby of a another race - let alone one with special needs - is not something that many people were doing in your generation so that it could have been hard for you to understand. But I am so grateful for your prayerfulness for us. I think it says so much about your relationship with the Lord that you are so aware of what He seems to be doing in my generation. You have never allowed yourself to stay stuck in the familiar - you have always courageously allowed God to bring you along with His movements, even if it challenged and changed what you were comfortable with.
When Uncle Mark wanted to work at a Young Life Camp - before Young Life was a household name in the Christian community - you and Pop took your whole family to the family camp so you could see what it was all about.
When families from your church moved overseas, you put their picture on your refrigerator and prayed for them daily.
When I brought over packets of children who needed sponsors to show one of the cousins, you snuck away with them and I found that one was missing when I got home. The next time I came over, a little Ethiopian boy's picture had joined the others on your fridge.
When we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, you listened carefully, asking questions, and then wrote us one of our first donation checks.
When we decided to adopt Faith, you sent me clippings of articles about resources for Down's syndrome and ambushed me with your prayers and support.
It might seem normal to you, but it isn't. I want to be just like you.
My mother in law once told me that I reminded her of you and that is the single best compliment I have ever received. Ever.
I love you, Grandma. Thank you - for a lifetime of being your granddaughter. I'm crying right now for love of you and gratitude that you are my grandma. There is a reason that Jessica has your name for her middle name, that Jenny chose your mom's maiden name for Evie's middle name, that Faith has your mom's name for her middle name: it is because we are proud to be yours.
Now, look at these pictures and see yourself through my eyes: