"When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, give it 1,000 reasons to smile."
My sister-in-law sent me this quote not long after we found out about Grace's diagnosis. And I must admit I've done my fair share of crying lately.
I cried because my beautiful three-year-old daughter has an incurable, untreatable rare genetic disorder that affects less than 25 children in the world. And I cried because the prognosis is that she might not live until her 10th birthday.
I also cried for all the things I won't get to do with Grace. I won't get to take her shopping for a prom dress or a wedding dress. I won't get to teach her how to drive, how to count or even sing the alphabet song with her.
And then I cried because it's just not fair. I look around and see healthy children running around, making messes, singing songs, saying "I love you." And my heart just aches for what is not to be.
But then I got this quote. "When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, give it 1,000 reasons to smile." In fact, my sister-in-law had shoe tags made for us with just that quote, an ever-present reminder that life is to be lived to its very fullest.
I may have 100 reasons to cry every morning when I get up. But that doesn't mean I can't have a day filled with 1,000 reasons to smile.
Grace takes up more than 900 of those reasons on her own. Despite her own set of challenges, Grace finds a way to love life, and almost always has a huge smile on her face. She loves to play peek-a-boo with you, which is usually followed by lots of laughter. And it's hard not to smile when Grace laughs, maybe impossible.
Grace loves preschool. She loves watching the kids and interacting with them. No, she can't run around in the play room or sing the songs or even open the door when it's her day to be leader. But she brings her smile with her each and every day. When I come to pick her up, she always has a big smile and a hug for me, and I smile as I watch the kids come to tell her bye and that they will see her the next day.
One of my very favorite things is to play with Grace. When she was a baby, I couldn't wait for her to big enough to play Barbies or board games with me. And sometimes I'm sad I may never have that chance. But instead of crying, I choose to play catch with Grace. That's her favorite. She likes to sit in the chair and throw you the ball. She just giggles and giggles with delight (and laughs even harder if I manage to throw the ball at her daddy instead).
Sure, life can give you 100 reasons to cry each and every day. But instead of letting the tears pool up in your eyes, find 1,000 reasons to smile. I bet if you start, you won't even be able to stop smiling.