My daughter’s name is Grace, though for the nine months I carried her it was about five other lovely names. But I remember telling her father on the day she was born that he could mix anything he wanted with the name, but we had to call her Grace because that is exactly what she had given us. That conviction came from a cold night in Boone, NC where I was renting an older style A-frame house and heating it with a wood fireplace. I didn’t know that there was a small crack in the bottom of the fireplace and an ember had ignited a flame in the foundation of the house. No alarms went off except for the one growing inside me, a tiny life kicking around and awakening my “Mother Instinct” just in time to realize that something wasn’t right. My two young children were asleep in the next room, and as I found out later, the fire was quickly catching just beneath them. We got out just in time and I can’t help but believe it was nothing short of a miracle.
These kinds of stories happen all the time, but do we hear about them as often as the bad stuff? I even have another miracle story about Grace and her friend Jasmine. Maybe this summer it will resonate as you are grilling out or making a campfire. The two girls are third graders this year and often ride the same bus home to a very happy, family-oriented apartment complex called Treetop Apartments. A nice wooded area runs along a row of big houses, and the girls were playing there one day before dinner. Families were setting up grills outside, and Jasmine’s little brother Jayden was there too with his mom, Shannon, practicing softball. Grace told me she and Jasmine were near the wooded area when something strange caught their eyes: flames were shooting out from behind a big wooden house with a wrap-around porch, and the ladies of the house were seated in front as if all was perfectly normal. Was this real?
The girls took another look and stepped a little closer. It was real: the house was on fire! In unison, the girls screamed to Shannon, who took off with all three children running and screaming toward the house. Luckily, there was a hose on the wooden porch, which she and the children unraveled and used to put out the burning banister and porch. The family living there was very grateful. They were also very shocked to find that the grill they were using for the first time that season had a faulty leg which broke and caused the grill to spill the hot coals.
The Fairview Fire Department came by that evening and took time out of the amazing work they do each day to reward the children with water bottles and badges. I feel so proud to live in a caring community and to be raising a daughter who has sharpened my own awareness since the time she came into my life. I know Shannon is also very proud of her two junior firefighters and glad that she was standing in the field just at that moment. As with my first story, this one ended with a sigh of relief and prayers of gratitude. I tell my Grace that I am very proud that she and Jasmine are observant and trust their instincts. I am glad that all the talking we have done about how important it is to look out for one another has proven true.v