First came Imani MacKenzie Grace, my 9-year-old -going-on-20 goddaughter. She may be the smartest person I’ve ever met…and I’ve met a lot of people. She is not satisfied to hear a fact, she wants to know everything about it and then teach it to someone else. She was a surprise we weren’t planning for but has taught us all more than we could have ever taught her.
Several years later, came my niece, Zoe Regina. She lives up to my name in the middle of hers. She likes shoes and sparkles and all things pretty and pink. When a tumor threatened her ability to stand, let alone walk, she got up and tried again. Today, she runs and jumps and plays so well we sometimes forget that last year she lay in a bed unable to eat.
Last year, I had Brynna Grace – my mini-me, my shadow, my baby girl. Some people come into a room and draw attention. Brynna consumes every space she enters. She laughs, talks, sings and lives LOUD. She was born with an infection that made her unable to breathe and therefore, not make a sound. She now makes up for that everyday.
Two weeks after Brynna, we added Nia Grace and Nala Iman, my twin goddaughters. They are MacKie’s little sisters and Brynna’s best buds. Separate, they have their own, amazing personalities. Together, they can throw a party! Twins often struggle at birth; “NiNa” defied those odds.
This past Tuesday, our gorgeous girls added a new member to the group. Hannah Lynell is my newest goddaughter. Born at 26 weeks, she is the most beautiful 2 lbs I’ve ever laid eyes on. She has the most perfect nose, long fingers and pretty brown eyes. As I watch her learn to breathe, I can think only of the favor God shows us. He didn’t have to give air for our lungs, but He does. And so much more.
We have often joked that to be in this elite group of girls, you have to be feisty (which is, of course, in no way related to the character of the mothers who birthed them). What started as a joke has become truer than we ever imagined. Each of our girls has overcome awesome obstacles. Through them, we have learned that even when life brings things you didn’t plan for, you make adjustments, hold on tight and let God drive. We have learned the power of prayer. We have learned how to support each other even from a distance. We have learned that sometimes you don’t need a million people; sometimes you just need to sit with the people who love you most and say absolutely nothing.
I am so much more than a mom. I am a proud aunt and godmother. I am blessed to be in the company of these girls, to learn from and teach them, to watch them grow up to be strong women. These are Our Girls and I couldn’t love them more…