So, fun fact, November 2nd is known throughout Catholic Christendom as All Souls Day. It differs from All Saints Day on November 1st, as All Saints celebrates passed souls ascended into Heaven. All Souls honors all souls, including those in Purgatory. In Mexico, they have a slightly different take on All Souls, which incorporates certain traditions of the early Aztec empire, presently referred to as Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos). Day of the Dead is a celebratory time to honor passed relatives and ancestors, with painted sugar-skull faces, skeletons, more skeletons, visiting/repairing grave sites...you know, live it up a little...for the un-living. Well, one of my bonus-girls (step-daughters), is celebrating Day of the Dead for altogether different purposes: it’s her FOURTEENTH birthday!...now THAT’S SCARY!...
Grace Von Thaden...Fourteen. Wow.
Grace, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know you over these past 18 months. You are special. You are slow to anger, quick to forgive, very funny and fun-loving, quick-witted, wry, and poised in public with friends and grownups alike. You are compassionate and empathetic, with unique gifts to positively influence those around you in endearing ways. People naturally warm to your charms. Your sisters look to you for strength, humility, humor...and your grace.
You have endured a lot of turmoil over the past two years, none of it really your asking or doing. You are to be commended for your steadiness while navigating these stormy seas. It has been a great honor and joy for your mother and me to watch you turn the corner from childhood to adolescence, as you rapidly approach womanhood. You are finding your own way and your own voice in the world, and that is the greatest gift you can bestow upon yourself at this time.
Grace, you are also a HUGE GOOFBALL, and I appreciate your nerdy, sometimes GROSS, sense of humor, along with your ability to laugh at yourself and not take the world so seriously!
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being patient with me, as I work to become a better friend and mentor to you. It is my great privilege to know you and witness your many successes in life. Great things are in store for you! Keep up the great attitude and work ethic!
Your best is before you. Dream big. Do big things. God has gifted you with all you require...
“Life is too short to be little.” - Benjamin Disraeli, 19th Century British Prime Minister