Monday, February 28, 2011

Alike, but better!

When I was about to leave for China to adopt Annabel, several people asked if I was going to blog. I had no idea what I was doing but knew I needed a way to journal our journey. It began under a different title, A Sister for Grace. While Grace was in the title, it seems that most of the posts focus on Annabel and the trend has continued on this blog.

But I wanted to take a minute and focus on Grace.

Grace and I are a LOT alike. In fact when I think of Grace as she was at six years old, I realize I think of her looking like I did in the picture above. No, I am not the cute baby on my uncle's lap or the pretty cowgirl on the right, I am the one with short hair, hands in my pocket, chubby cheeks, and short hair, whose body was just about as wide as it was tall.

This is a picture of Grace I received before I adopted her. While it is not a cowgirl suit you might see some similarities.

Our temperament is similar but Grace has an ability that amazes me that I wish I had.

When I was in second or third grade I came home from school with a weaving project we had started in art class. I remember getting so frustrated with it that I tore it up and threw it away!

For Grace, she would meet that as a challenge, a need for her to try and try until she gets it just right.

When she started school, she was in an ESL class whose students were Hispanic. She heard and saw them rolling their r's to pronounce words. I remember her asking me how do you do that??? She would have me do it over and over so she could watch how my tongue worked to make the sound. She would practice and practice until she finally succeeded and even changed her name to Grace, with her r being rolled!

Next came whistling. I have always teased Mom that if she would have encouraged me maybe I could whistle. The only whistle I can do is a shrill sound that our dogs will respond to.

Not Grace.

She would ask everyone she met if they could whistle and have them show her how they held their tongue, shaped their lips, and blow. She worked and worked until she can whistle any tune, beautifully.

When she began to draw, she would get friends to show them how they drew and would watch over and over and practice and practice until she accomplished that, only to move on to the next picture. She drew pages of eyes working to create a perfect depiction of an eye. She would draw one and ask if it looked like a man or a woman's or an animals.

She did the same with the piano. Her teacher would give her a piece to learn and before the day was over, she had mastered it.

Now she is doing the same with the guitar.

When she has a minute, even one, she picks up her guitar and works to perfect the techniques they have taught. She listens carefully to the tuning and even though she has to adjust it with pliers (the knobs on her guitar broke off) she makes the adjustments necessary to make the music more beautiful each time she plays.

She switches just as easily from rock to mariachi and now to a classic like Summertime.

Her favorite expression, which she tortures her sister with, is practice makes perfect.

She amazes me every day.

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