Once upon a time, Gracie was this little. Once upon an even-longer-ago-time, that is exactly what I looked like. We started calling her "Mini Ginny," and the name stuck even though she is not so mini anymore (sniffle).
Each of us Heidel kids have had a "thing" that we were obsessed with as toddlers; mine was elephants, Allie's was Barney, Caleb's was Thomas the Tank Engine...and Gracie's was the Teletubbies. A slightly creepy show? Well, yes...but in one way it seemed appropriate that Gracie would love a show about cute, cuddly, friendly little beings because that's exactly what she was. She was always sweetly rambling around the house, rosy-cheeked and wide-eyed. She loved to cuddle. When his body was world-weary and his memory was fading, our grandpa loved to sit quietly on the couch with baby Gracie's little body snuggled up on his chest.
Now she's a young woman, and she is every facet of her name: Unmerited favor, generosity, beauty, elegance, mercy. She is tender, selfless, hilarious, talented. She is artistic and literary, always crafting a new story (complete with illustrations), or drawing detailed cartoons of life at home, or hand-making a card to bring a bit of celebration to everyday events. She has a boldness I did not have at her age; she spent half of her Christmas break in Peru, pouring out her time and energy to serve people she had never met -- but also opened her heart up to be served by their example, as well. I am so proud of you, gracious, graceful Gracie...and don't worry, I'll be back soon to rescue you from all those brothers!