growth, change and what families do

It’s honestly more challenging to come up with an appropriate title than it is to put my streams of consciousness into paragraph form. At times anyway. But, this one is about some of my favorite humans so I never feel like the right words come naturally.

I posted a couple months back about how my youngest niece graduated from high school. And how I can. not. even. handle it because I know who is next. However, we will most definitely (and gladly) not be talking about that today.

Today, we’re talking about celebrating the next milestone. College. Oh, I did tell that next kid this past Friday while we were at the MSU game walking by all of the young tailgaters that he would never be going to college. So, I guess he needs to start thinking more seriously about his future in the military. I’ll keep you posted on his planning efforts on that front.

Anyway, we got together this morning to celebrate a couple birthdays, a next step for Alyssa and the official transition to post-high for Lindsey. Nikki just had her flourty-schmeventh birthday last week and Alyssa is nearing the sweet age of 23 and entering the police academy at Ferris. Seriously, she amazes me. Hearing her talk about determining if an arrest is necessary for a suspected drunk driving incident involving a motorized wheelchair makes her aunt so proud. I mean, how do you handle a situation like that?! I know I wouldn’t. At least not well. Good news is that it was only a scenario presented in class. She’s also going through some intense PT that sounds more like boot camp. I told CJ to listen closely so he could be prepared as well. I’m mostly kidding.

And now we have young Lindsey heading off to get started on her education in education. She is so passionate about teaching the little people that I hope this next few years flies by for her so she can jump right in and make our schools that much better.

I’m honestly just so proud of both of my nieces. But what I realized this morning is how proud that makes me of my sister and brother-in-law. Alyssa and Lindsey are INCREDIBLE human beings and that is nearly all due to the hard work their mom and dad have put in over this past couple of decades. (I have to save some level of credit for the rest of their family because there are some legit rockstars on both sides) They are God-fearing, independent, strong, confident, resilient, smart, talented and thoughtful young women. I won’t lie. I’ve asked both of them for advice. Their aunt is so grateful for their confidence. I wish I could put it in a bottle and take it as a supplement in the morning. It’s that good! But seriously, Nikki and Brian have set such an example for me and I only pray that I can send CJ off to wherever he lands (nowhere near tailgating) with the same.

And now life changes for N&B as well. And I can say that I’ve seen them face some things these past few years together that have made them stronger, almost seemingly in a way to prepare them for this next phase. I’ve seen their commitment to each other grow pretty significantly and without some of those challenges, I’m not sure that they would be as strong as they are. It’s almost as if God’s timing was perfect? Hmm. Strange how that happens. I hope that as hard as it is to consider what it feels like to have your kids leave the nest that at the same time they can be so excited that they could also now skinny dip without fear of interruption. I mean, that’s exciting, right?!

In all seriousness though, as we gathered around that table and shared coffee and breakfast goodies (my favorite kind of communion), I realized just how thankful and blessed I am for this family that celebrates, shares and hangs in there together. Through all the things. We are small in number but mighty in how we wrestle whatever life gives us. Together.

Though there might be a bit more distance between us now and life might look a little different than what we’re used to, I have no doubt that we will continue to support, fight for and love each other. Because that’s what families do.

I love your stupid faces!

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