Posted by: Robin | June 7, 2008

Princess Grace

Sarah Anne

Today is my daughter Sarah’s half birthday (the one above in the wedding dress). My other two children were born in March, so soon after beginning my blog in February I got to celebrate their lives in print. I didn’t want to wait until December. When my husband and I tried to come to agreement on names for our first born before her birth, we finally had to settle on a compromise. If the baby was a boy he’d choose the name, and if it was a girl I’d get to name her my favorite girl’s name since childhood Sarah. Don chose her middle name Anne after his grandmother, but it was not until after we brought her home that we looked up the meanings. Sarah means princess and Anne means graceful. It tickled my imagination that our lovely blond babe’s name echoed the actress turned royal I considered one of the most strikingly beautiful and elegant women I’d ever seen, Grace Kelly. Funny how apt it’s proved to be.

Today my daughter is a lovely blond young woman who grew up in the Greater Philadelphia area and became an actor. But striking similarities to an unintended namesake are not the only reason a name meaning grace is so apt. Far more than a palpable grace of presence is her grace with people. Grace can mean unmerited gift, and Sarah has an amazing heart for other people, all kinds of people. She is imaginative, very bright, curious and lots of fun, but her desire to connect with people has been remarkable from the cradle. In the church nursery at two she would become so frustrated because she wanted to play with the other children, not around them as is common for 2 & 3 year-olds. It wasn’t simply a matter of interacting and playing. She wanted to share. (This characteristic impulse almost ended in manslaughter when sixteen-month-old Sarah felt bad that three-week-old Dan didn’t have an Easter basket so she tried to feed him one of her yellow marshmallow chicks.)

Sarah was so other-focused it made her extraordinarily perceptive about people. When we moved before her second grade year, she seemed to make friends quickly to my relief, but one day I realized that she was still feeling on the outside looking in. When I asked her about it she said, “All the girls talk about each other when one of them isn’t there. That means they’re probably talking about me, too. How can I tell if they are really my friends?” Her comment was both heartbreaking and astute for her age. This perception is probably one of the things that drew her to acting, and makes her so good at it.

With Sarah it is not simply a matter of caring deeply about other people and wanting to ease their hurt or share in their happiness. She wants to be part of helping them to be their best selves and encourage them where possible to reach their dreams. It is part of why she strives so hard to be her best self. Again it is no more the end than playing with others was when she was two. It is the means to touching others in meaningful ways and engaging them. She is a gifted caretaker and great company, but the gift that Sarah gives to those who cross her path is the experience of being truly seen and heard, a rare thing. I learn from her all the time, and I am grateful to be the mother of this remarkable young woman of exemplary grace, in all its meanings–though by and large I had little more to do than keep her safe and get out of her way.

So to my pearl of great price (get it, Sarah?), thanks! Happy Half Birthday! This means I only owe you half a birthday dinner next weekend. 

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Responses

  1. Truly our children have been the great blessing of our lives.

  2. Thanks Mom!

  3. You’re very welcome. It was my priviledge!


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