Sunday, November 8, 2015

Double-Digits Here She Comes!!

This morning I opened the garage door as we were leaving for church and was greeted by unexpected blooms on the bushes in front of my house. Beautiful bright Camellia blooms -- in my favorite shade of deep pink. I was delighted.

I had no expectation for what the bushes were in front of my home -- one of those fun perks of moving in after blooming season -- and certainly no idea that whatever they were they would decide to bloom on this early November morning.

And then I got tickled. Because really, the unexpected gift of these blooms coincided perfectly with the celebration of another unexpected little gift in this house.

The triplets were eight years old when I struggled to overcome what I assumed was jet lag after a trip to Phoenix to work on the construction of our new home. I kept saying to anyone who would listen that I thought the absolute exhaustion the trip had left with me didn't seem conducive for the time difference between Phoenix and our then home of Dallas, TX. I mean really.

Of course it wasn't jet lag at all. 

We worked hard to think of a name for this little girl. We enlisted the triplets' help but after having to nix Frodo, Anakin, and Obi Wan, I reminded them that they each have a family name as well as a Biblical name and I would like the same plan for the new baby.

Bethlehem was a popular choice among my three. Then John. Paul. Then John Paul. I finally decided Wade and I should come up with names and then present choices.

After settling on Catherine Grace -- our Cate -- I was sharing the story within earshot of little Claire. I told the woman asking about the name, that while Catherine was in our remote family, I just really wanted a Cate and my husband agreed that after triplets, I definitely should get my pick. I went on to explain that Grace is a gift that we do not deserve or expect and that this baby was definitely that. To which the ears of my girl pricked up and she exclaimed: "Mama and Daddy may not deserve her but I do. I have been waiting on her my entire life!!!"

And it is the absolute truth. Catherine Grace Shrader entered the world on November 9, 2005 and changed us all for the better. We had been waiting on her our whole entire lives and didn't even know it.

When at two years old, she climbed out of her high chair and up on Benjamin's wheelchair to wipe the ice cream off of his chin, she taught us that accepting and loving her brothers came naturally. She loved them from the first with an innate knowledge that we work together as a family to help them overcome obstacles.

She taught us that we could in fact stretch and grow -- from parents of triplets to parent of triplets AND one more. 

She pulled fire alarms that forced a school to come up with a plan for her brothers' second floor evacuation. I am sticking with that version too because otherwise the sheer embarrassment of NOT being able to stop that little not-yet-two-year-old-hand as it reached for the bright shiny red knob still mortifies me! (And we did have a fire plan that I had been begging for for three months within two days!)

She almost punched a little boy who called her brother weird. Luckily I moved faster that day to stop a 3-year-old who felt strongly the need to do a bit more than just explain that her brother was not weird.

She held our hand and gently led us into a world of being sideline parents. From soccer to softball to everything in between, she showed us the ropes and helped us find our cheering voices!

She has moved from the only hometown she has ever known this year. She has started school for the first time outside our little homeschool home. She had to have emergency surgery the very first week of school. And two of her favorite people on the planet moved away to college. The changes, challenges and losses should have knocked her flat. Not our Little Red. She has rocked every single change.  She has overcome every single challenge. And she has found strength in accepting what can't be changed.

I really really could not be more proud.

Once when she was three, a stranger asked her her name: "I'm Cate. I'm a gift," was her prompt reply. And she is. She just absolutely is.

Happy 10th birthday, my precious Little Red! I give thanks for your birth every single day! You, my dear, are now a double-digit gift!! And I love you more!

Carol - The Blessings Counter