Monday, August 29, 2011

Somebody's Getting Old (And It's Not Me)...

My youngest niece will be starting school at Western Michigan University in a few days and is in fact, in Kalamazoo getting ready to embrace a new season of her life. She has been through so much in her 18 years and now it is time to map her own existence. Now she can really live and pursue her dreams.

Time passes so quickly and before you know it the 5-year-old with long ringlets has turned into an 18-year-old with magnificent dreams and potential just waiting to be fulfilled. It is crazy that she would grow up right in front of my eyes. We have not always had the best of relationships but she is like the daughter I never had. She is the one who helps turn my hair gray. She is the one that gives me heart palpitations with every crazy, risky, rebellious antic she comes up with. But she is also the one that made me wipe tears from my eyes as she marched across Houseman Field in Grand Rapids, Michigan one warm June day.

I love my baby girl and see her no longer as a baby or a girl. I see her as the woman she is surely becoming. She makes me realize that I have made a positive impact and now its her turn to do the same.

It's crazy when your babies grow up. She is the first of my mother's grandchildren to attend a four year university. Her sister, my oldest niece, is also pursuing her education to make a better life for herself and her young kings. She is getting her CNA license and will care for others with that huge heart of hers. The pride I feel regarding them both cannot be compared to any other feeling I have ever had about anything as amazing as they are. My prayer is that they believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. I never want them to second guess the power of being who they were born to be.

They are beautifully intelligent young women, and I hope they become everything they are meant to be. One thing I know for sure: their grandmother's prayers keep them covered and my insistence that they never give up - no matter what life may bring - is what will keep them for many years to come. I also know that their great-grandparents that are witnessing what will come of their lives from heaven's grandstands are immensely overjoyed at all they will be able to accomplish if they work and pray hard enough (not necessarily in that order).

The generation they are growing up in is so fearless and sometimes reckless. I worry sometimes about my babies but I know that they will be okay.

I do, however, hate their tongue rings (which explains why they stuck their tongues out while taking the picture). They have become professional Auntie annoyers...but that's okay too. They are mine and I love them more than they can ever know. My life wouldn't be what it is if they were not in it. :)