with love from omaha...
Girl at the Mirror
"You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls."
— J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
when i first knew of my sister in law katie, i was in college and i had not even met my husband matthew yet. i was friends with my brother in law before i met my husband, and patrick would talk often about "the baby", who was just 3 years old at the time. when his mom sent him a picture, he would instant message it to me, so i could see how adorable "the baby" was. he thought i would be shocked that something so adorable could be related to him. and i remember thinking she was one of the most beautiful little girls i ever saw.
the first time i met katie was 5 months after matthew and i started dating. his whole family came for a visit, and katie was 5 years old.
oh, that sweet little girl that came walking in confidently into a foreign apartment. she was wearing the most precious hand knit sweater coat, and her red hair and big eyes would beckon anyone to her. she quietly played around her mothers legs while we chit chatted in awkward first conversations. when i addressed her, she responded with such grace and confidence, far beyond her 5 years. she was very polite and proper, and knowing matthew and patrick for years, i was a little surprised.
we became fast friends that first weekend. i watched her curiously as she confidently ordered her own "kiddie cocktail" from the server at kobe steakhouse. (for those of you not from wisconsin, that is a shirley temple... i don't know why they have a different name for it there.) she watched in awe as the chef made our dinner in front of our eyes. i watched fear flicker in her eyes when the chef made an onion volcano and flames shot into the air. and she sat politely all through dinner and entertained herself while we carried on adult conversation. later that night sitting in patricks apartment eating boucher bakery sugar cookies, katie and emma and i played cards on the floor while the boys talked to their parents. she held my hand as we walked around the old market downtown, and laughed at all her all weekend. when they left i gave katie a great big hug and told her i would see her soon. she looked at me very confused, she didn't know that i was planning on marrying her brother, and she didn't know she would be my sister someday.
katie is 9 now, she will be 10 soon... and i still see her as that little girl scared of the flame at kobe steakhouse. every time donna posts a picture of katie on her blog i am shocked at how old she is, how big she is, how she is not a little girl anymore. and every time i see a picture i cry a little bit, and it breaks my heart.
katie is the baby, and she always will be. the most loved, most beautiful baby, you ever did see. her life is so different from her big brothers and sister, she doesn't have her siblings by her everyday. no matter how much they want to be there, and how much they love her, we just can't be there everyday, for every important event. and it simply breaks my heart.
because we shouldn't be so far away from katie. we should get to see her grow everyday. we should be able to make it to her first communion, her plays, and concerts, school activities, and sporting events. we should get to meet her friends, and be there for her birthday. we should get to be a part of her life everyday. it breaks my heart that we aren't there, and as fast as she is growing up, i know we will miss many more events of her life. when she has her first date, and goes to prom, and gets her drivers license, we won't be there. when she sings at church, and has the lead in the school play, when she gets an A on the big test, we won't be there. when her heart is broken for the first time, we won't be there. when she needs a big brother to protect her, matthew won't be there. we will miss so many events in her life, and we will miss her growing up each day. and i wish so much we could be there everyday... i wish we could be there for her everyday.
but they are in madison, wi. and we are in omaha, ne. and it seems impossible that we could spend every day with her. and it seems just a part of life that we will not be there to see her grow and mature and live.
know, katie grace, that we love you so much, and we miss you everyday. know that we wish we could be there to see you, to see you grow, and play, and learn, and mature, and change. know, that we believe you will become someone incredible, whether we are there or not. know, katie grace, that we pray for you, as often as we miss you. we pray that God will lead you and show you His love, we pray that you will grow in Him. we pray that He will make you into whoever He wants you to be. we pray that He will keep and protect you, and that you will know you are loved and missed by us. we pray that we will get to see you soon, and that your excitement and love for us will not whither as you grow and change. we pray, katie grace, that you will live your life, and love your life, and not forget to share it with us.
we miss you katie, and we are so proud of the young lady you are becoming, and the woman you will someday be.
thank you, for being my sister, and for blessing me everyday.
and katie, try, please try, to get your parents to move to omaha... so we can see you everyday!