Tag Archives: nieces

My nieces …

are remarkable.

Each of them brings me unspeakable joy.

Sophie, the oldest, was my first. I watched her being born and captured the first photograph of her.

She became, that photograph did, anyway, a greeting card.


Gracie, known to me as Gracie-Bell, was second. I didn’t witness her birth as she decided to create all kinds of drama.

She, like her older sister, is a drama queen.

Gracie has Down’s Syndrome but lives life as though it will end tomorrow. She’s a character and, as you may have imagined, a greeting card as well.


Life happens as it happens and as it does, I capture it.

It’s what I do.

My daughter, for instance, was a music education major.  She’s chosen a different path, yet still found herself on a greeting card.


My dad, an inspiration to me though we often butted heads, is my mentor. Guess what?  Yep, a greeting card.


Life happens.

In that life is magnificence.





Time passes, life goes on, memories fade.

Enjoy each moment for there will come a time when nothing, except memories, remain.







Family. Friends. Creation. Life.




Nothing matters more.



I wonder at times …

just what kind of influence I have on my nieces and if it is, in fact, a good thing.

When they come over, we stand in the rain and try to catch raindrops on our tongue.

We stand on the porch in the dark of night, talking to the man in the moon and try to count the stars.

We watch lightning bugs and look for meteors.

We laugh at silly stuff and listen to music.

We bang on the piano keyboard making all manner of noise and then pretend that we know what we are doing.

I play Mahler, Beethoven and Bach for them and then we dance like mad to Crazy Train.

We watch Lord of the Dance and documentaries on Alaska.

We make up songs and sing them loudly, through a hairbrush microphone.

We burn incense and light the lava lamp.

We brew tea using a teaball and have tea parties with Irish Breakfast tea.

We sit in the floor and draw pictures using markers, chalk and crayons.

Blue is my favorite.

We let the dog in the house during a thunderstorm because I have a hard time denying them anything.

We don’t watch TV and we rarely watch movies.  There is so much that is there that they, as little girls, don’t need to know.

There is so much there, that me, as a big girl, don’t need to know.

I want to let them know how much I love them without exposing them to the things about myself that make feel crazy and out of control.

I don’t want them to know that sometimes my thoughts race, my mind falters and I don’t, more than any other hope I have, want them to be like me.

Manic and exasperated or crying and inconsolable.

I want, though, to let them know, that it is OK to be different from everyone else, to march to their own drummer, to follow their dreams and to seek what they want to know.

I want them to know that wherever they go, whatever they do, whatever endeavors they undertake, I will support them, love them and will always, always stand in the rain with them.

joy unspeakable

joy unspeakable

youthful innocence

youthful innocence

It isn’t an issue …

my niece’s Down’s Syndrome, that is; as a matter of fact, until someone brings it up, I forget about it.  I thought about it quite a bit this weekend, though.  It was the annual Buddy Walk, a walk sponsored by the National Down’s Syndrome Society.  There is a chapter of FRIENDS (Friends Reaching and Inspiring Neighbors about Down’s Syndrome) that services Southwest VA and Northeast TN.  It is through them that the Buddy Walk takes place each year.  But, I digress.

I saw many children there, many who were the same age as Grace, some older others younger.  I noticed many disabilities that I never give a second thought to  because I haven’t had to confront them with Gracie.  She does everything her sister does, sometimes even better, giving the impression that there is no disability.  While surrounded by the children and their parents, I had to take a moment and wonder what they go through on a daily basis just to insure that their child can have a routine of sorts.  Our biggest challenge is keeping up with Gracie as she is as fast as lightning and can be gone before you can say “Where’s Gracie?”.  Maybe we should dress her in a red and white striped shirt and make a book about her.

At one point, I took her with me and let her jump in one of the air-filled things.  What she really wanted to do was go down a slide that you had to climb up via little “foot pockets” to get to, kind of like the rock-climbing attractions at some malls.  I made her wait so her daddy could with her.

As it turned out, she didn’t need anybody to go with her.  She climbed up that thing like a monkey and never looked back, except when I was taking her picture because she is, irregardless of everything else, a ham.  I was so proud of her and a bit disappointed in myself for not having enough confidence in her abilities even though I see them nearly every day.

There are many lessons I can learn from Gracie.  I can learn to not know the meaning of can’t.  I can learn that just because something is hard has no bearing on whether I can do it or not and that unless I try, I will never know.  I can learn unconditional love that is blind to looks, color, demeanor, personality, social status, intelligence and the myriad of things that I roll my eyes at.  She doesn’t see with her eyes, but with her heart.  I think we could all use a bit more of that.

I thank God for both of my nieces and would lay down my life for either of them, but I thank Him especially for blessing our Gracie, for healing the hole in her heart, for fixing her kidney and for making her a grand example to all of us.  God Bless you Gracie.  You make me want to be a better person.

Romans 11:33 ~ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!