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Gracie Doran Goes on Spring Break

After attending a local dance, our young columnist heads with her family to the desert, where she reflects on her young life.

Spring break started for me on April 1. I got to go to my first school dance that night. When I asked my parents if I could go, I didn't think they would let me because they are a little overprotective. 

I thought I'd give it a try and was so surprised they said yes.  I went with my friend Hannah, and we met other friends there.  The Laguna Niguel YMCA has the dance every month, and only the kids from your middle school are allowed to go. We danced and had a lot of fun. My mom hung around and spied on me, but she left after a while. Moms just need a little time to let go!  

For spring break, we went to Palm Desert. We always go and meet our friends there and have a great time. My favorite part is swimming in the pools and going down the waterslide. I really love to swim. 

One of the first things I did when I got out of Healthbridge Rehabilitation Hospital was start aqua-therapy.  I was very lucky because one my sister's friends worked with stroke patients and volunteered to help me rehab in the pool.   Swimming makes me feel free.  In the water I feel like I can do anything. 

Before my stroke, I competed on a tumbling team and did cartwheels, walkovers and back handsprings. I can't do them any more, but I can do them in the pool. I don't limp or lose my balance in the pool. I am just like everyone else. When we were in Palm Desert, we swam every day, even when it rained one day. 

We went out to dinner and ran into six other families we knew from Laguna Niguel.  We even saw my Aunt Kathy and cousin Thomas there, even though we didn't know they were going to be in Palm Desert.   

We also celebrated my brother Michael's 10th birthday that week. I thought a lot about when I was 10. I had my stroke that year. I worry about my brother because I know that what I have is a very rare disease, but not rare in my family. We don't know if he has it or not. 

I  once asked my mom if my kids could have it, and she said it is possible. It really made me sad to think of anyone else having to go through this. I did not know what to say, so I wrote a poem about it after my mom told me.  It's called, "I Wonder."    

I Wonder 

I wonder if my child will have the same thing that I have.

I wonder if my child will have the same struggles that I have had to go through.

I wonder if my future family will handle it the same way as my family does.

I wonder if I will be as strong as my mom.

I wonder if I will live long enough to have a family.

I wonder a lot of things.

But I dream these things will not happen.

I dream that my child will not have this.

By Gracie

Maureen Russo April 18, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Love the way you write Gracie...fearless is what you are! Not afraid to say what is in your heart! Keep up the writing, love following you! Maureen Russo
Cathie McGinnis April 18, 2011 at 09:38 PM
What a wise young lady you are! I so enjoy reading your articles. You're going to accomplish big things in your life. Just keep on going, GG! God bless, Cathie
Susan Haines Lopez April 18, 2011 at 09:39 PM
Good job! I wonder if I could be as strong as your mom too Grace.
Elizabeth Neufeld April 18, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Gracie, I'm sad we didn't get to see you in palm springs. Keep up south your writing. You are an inspiration to your readers. You are one tough cookie! Izzi
andrew April 19, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Awesome stuff. You are an amazing girl Gracie.
abigail farrell April 19, 2011 at 03:05 AM
I like that you can get into the pool and lose your sense of limits. All of us have some limits in life, but we're much older when we reach full realization of them. If you worry about your brother, just think of the wide path you are opening for him through your example. If this had happened to him instead of to you, your eyes would be open wider from his experience, just as his are open wider because of yours. None of us sees what has happened to you as a blessing, but your reactions have been blessings to many, including your brother. I also like that you cut your mother some slack for being over-protective. She and your dad were champs for letting you go to the dance with your friends. All they want is for your life to be as normal as possible. Seeing you do normal things is their gift for taking care of you. Go dancing, babe.
Dr Michael Muhonen April 19, 2011 at 05:13 AM
Gracie, That poem was so awesome, and from the heart!!!! You need to teach constructive writing at a university. Don't forget about our Gala on May 7th, I'll get you details soon. Dr Mike
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Dr. Michael: Maybe we should make Gracie a Patch editor in training!
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 05:23 AM
Abigail: Gracie is such an inspiration it is amazing that she is only 11.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) April 19, 2011 at 05:24 AM
Maureen: She is also quite the poet!
CW April 19, 2011 at 06:02 AM
Another wonderful article by our Gracie. We were in palm Desert the weekend before with my family. My dad and brother's family lives there. You need to be a permanent writer! I look forward to your article each week! My weekly Gracie inspiration! I'm hooked!! I love you sweetheart!! Thank you for your gift to all of us each week!
Noreen Burke April 19, 2011 at 07:01 AM
Gracie, I wonder at how special you are I wonder at the courage you have I wonder how much you have taught all of us I think you are truly WONDROUS! Much love, Noreen Burke
Kerry Stewart April 19, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Gracie: I love your stories. You are so honest and open in them. You can't blame your Mom for being overprotective. You are so precious! Tell Michael Happy Birthday from the Stewarts! Love, Kerry
Courtney Fielder April 19, 2011 at 03:18 PM
My fearless friend! Keep up the good work and great stories Love Courtney
tricia April 20, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Gracie You are so amazing and I am blessed to have you as my niece. Keep up the good work and I will see you on Easter!!! Love Aunt Tricia
Lindsay April 20, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Gracie -- You always seem to brighten my day... no matter what is ahead of me, If I can be as strong as you sweetie, I know I will be fine. Love, Lindsay (Auntie Tricia's buddy)
Jena Minnick-Harry April 20, 2011 at 07:21 PM
You are a joy in my life. I really treasure being able to teach you and share your passion of dance. But what you may not realize is that you have taught me. And more than just really cool zombie moves ;) You have taught me to embrace beauty and hope in all of life's challenging glory. I love you kiddo!
Mary Ward May 08, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Dear Gracie I am Mrs.Mary Ward's son you should ask your mom who I am. I have a few questions though 1. do you like or watch any sports ?2.Have you been on cheezburger network one the funniest webs site on the planet ?3. What do you do on a day to day basis ? A regular Thursday for me is, I wake up and go to school. When my school day is over, I go home to my babysitter (who is really unlike most babysitters). After my home work is done , I go skate boarding with my friends.Then I play x-box and get ready for my lacrosse game. I want to play on a travel team next year . And that would be a normal day in my life . So that a normal day in my life. Whats a normal day in yours? please respond (* - *)+3=me

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