|Lilliana Grace 2014|
There are some children that are glitter, like sparkles inside of soap bubbles - filled with desire and imagination. This is our granddaughter, Lilliana Grace.
Lilli is artistic and dreamy, beautiful down to her soul. She loves to cook, draw, do mixed martial arts and read. She notices everything, has a memory that seems to last forever, and is a never-ending surprise to most of us that know her. She is, in short, so filled with potential that it astounds most people.
Since Lilli and her family live in another state,. we rely on visits and phone calls to keep us connected. One afternoon, during one of these visits last year, Lilli asked me if we could write a book together. Naturally, I agreed.
“What shall it be about?” I asked. At the time, Lilli was a fan of the “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” books (a series that had proven how kids wanted interaction with characters on the page).
After thinking awhile, Lili said “School.” She had already assembled the blank canvas, folding 8”x10” sheets of copy paper in half and stapling them together, like a real book.
I wrote a simple story, my text on one side of the fold, saving the other side for Lili’s drawings. I expected the normal drawings of an eight year old, not the illustrations she returned. Lilli's illustrations were brilliant, borderless and artistic. “Oh my word,” I shouted. “This is AMAZING!!”
She smiled, but she seemed to know that her illustrations were good. As good as my story, I dare say. Deep down inside, Lilli knows she’s amazing.
This isn’t just Grandmotherly admiration. Last year, she painted a picture that was chosen for display by the entire school district: a butterfly done in pastels that looks as if it is a stained glass window.
|Lennae and David with their artist, Lilli|
There is a special beauty that is in Lilli’s heart, partly because she was born second and is a middle child. Second born children are unique and special, making their entrance into an already formed family, sometimes having to clamor for attention (I relate to this because I was also born second). Erma Bombeck once wrote that the second born is special because they cry less, have more patience, wear faded clothes and “never in your life did anything ‘first,’ but it only made you more special.”
This is Lilli.
As a second-born child, she has learned how to shine. Her birth was a celebration of continuance, her family now had another child, and she had a big sister waiting. Although she might have been known for years as the “quiet one”, partly because of her juxtaposition next to Laila, Lilli has learned how to shine in ways that have made her outgrow that label.
Today is her birthday. We are here in California and she is there, in Kansas City. She is - at this moment - enjoying a birthday trip is to her favorite holiday place in the whole world with two of her best friends. Last week, she wrote to me on SKYPE to tell me how excited she was.
As I read our back and forth on our SKYPE conversation , I marveled at how time flies. As a Grandmother, an Abuela, I have to remember that each day I have with her is a gift to be cherished. I still remember the phone call from David saying that he and Lennae were expecting again. The pregnancy was hard on my daughter-in-law, and she had to be hospitalized at one point. Mario and I prayed very hard for all to turn out well. Lilli is the beautiful answer to those fervent prayers. I can't help but think that is why she shines with such exceptional beauty.
Happy birthday to our beautiful and creative Lilliana Grace. We love you so much, honey! We are constantly amazed by how you're growing and changing everyday!