Wow! What a year my Kylee girl had as a 21 yr old! I have had the blessing of watching her grow and change. It is such a privilege to be a part of the lives of my daughters. I will always be thankful for how these two young ladies are two of the best gifts of my entire life.
When Kylee was born, I remember the joy that her dad, her big bro PK, and I had. Kylee has continued to bring us all joy throughout each year that we have the honor to share with her. This year, I drove to Kylee and MiKayla’s University for the day of Kylee’s birthday. I reflected a lot on Kylee’s life as I was driving. When I got to Kylee’s apartment, I smiled so much as I watched her put on her make up and update her mom on a few items that were currently going on.
I had fun talking about Kylee’s first birthday with her on that day. Kylee wore a big, puffy, blue dress on the day of her first birthday, and she had a blast dancing in her party hat and spinning around in her dress. I still remember the smiles and giggles of 1 year old Kylee. I remember the pride that I could see in her dad’s eyes. I remember the excitement of her big brother who was now getting close to reaching the age of 2 1/2 with just a couple of months to go. I remember Kylee’s hugs and smiles to each one who came to celebrate her special day with her. Kylee loved Winnie the Pooh at that age, and her eyes would light up whenever we talked about Pooh Bear with her. I am a fellow Winnie The Pooh lover, and I had so much fun surprising Kylee with Pooh Bear items for her special day.
It is so much fun to look back on those early days and all of the joy that we shared together as a family… as a complete family unit. As I continued to watch Kylee put her make up on my thoughts wandered to all that had occurred with Kylee during her past year. Kylee had a wonderful year at college and continued to deepen the many friendships that she had been developing through the past years. Kylee has continued to grow in her faith and developed a deep desire to go to Africa on a mission trip.
Kylee spent part of her year raising funds for her month long mission trip to Mozambique and to South Africa. Kylee spent June in those two countries in Africa and loved every minute of it. (I wrote a blog about Kylee going to Africa on June 10th of this past year entitled “Kylee leaves for Africa”) That month long trip made lasting impressions on Kylee, and in the future, I hope to sit down with Kylee and write a blog from her perspective on her trip. What an impact that trip made on her life. I do not think that my daughter will ever look at life quite the same after the experiences that she had on her mission trip, the people that she met, and from the deep relationships that she formed with her team members. I am so thankful for this opportunity for her, and I truly thank each one who supported her through prayer and through finances.
As Kylee continues to grow and change then she is reassessing what profession she wants to do in her future. When she begin college, her plan was after she received her bachelor’s degree that she would continue on with her master’s and obtain the education that she needed to become a physical therapist. At this point, Kylee is undecided in what she wants to do. She is seriously considering taking a year off when she receives her bachelor’s and spending a year with the ministry that she is involved with as an intern. It will be so fun to see how all of this unfolds in Kylee’s future and what she decides to do.
Kylee had a great year in her track program this past year and reached two of her goals to break her University’s records in the hammer and the weight throw. She now holds her University record in both the indoor and the outdoor season. It was so much fun to watch Kylee meet two of her college goals this past year. Kylee has had a strong work ethic throughout so much of her life. When she sets her mind to accomplish something then she has a fierce determination that drives her to finish and meet her goals. I am very excited to see how these gifts help her throughout her life.
Kylee has continued to heal and become more open in her grief. Kylee was 14 when her daddy died in a work related accident in August 2011, and she was 16 when her big brother was instantly killed in a car accident at the age of 18 in June 2013. This has been a heart wrenching journey for Kylee to deal with the losses of both her daddy and her brother. Kylee has become more and more open about sharing her own pain and reaching out to others who are hurting. While she was in Africa, she was asked to share her story in church one Sunday in Mozambique. When she was in South Africa, she shared her story on a different Sunday that was Father’s Day. They were working with many kids in the projects who did not have a dad or a “typical” family unit in their lives. Kylee was asked to share her story on Father’s Day as well to try to help all of the kids that were hurting that she was surrounded with. It has been such a blessing as Kylee’s mom to watch her open up and to share her emotional pain with others and to help them to know that they could be open with her as well. I am excited to see how Kylee will continue to help others throughout her life. This mom is 100% convinced that she will help and bless many other lives just as I have watched her do throughout these painful years.
MiKayla arrived after a little while with her sweet friend and roommate Anna Kate. We all headed to church for our first destination. I kept thinking, Thank You God that my sweet girl wants church to be a part of our day. Kylee chose how we were spending her birthday from start to finish. The service was great with a time of heartfelt worship and an encouraging message. I was able to meet some additional team members from Kylee’s mission trip who were there that morning. After her time in Mozambique, there were a group of students from a different University that joined them in South Africa. Two of these team members were at church and went with us to eat afterwards. Kylee chose a Japanese grill place to eat for her birthday dinner. Several other friends of Kylee’s joined from her current University. We had a wonderful dinner. I had a blast watching my daughter’s eyes dance with joy and laughter fill the room. Kylee was truly having a wonderful time, and as her mom, I was so thankful to have another opportunity to spend the day with my daughter on her birthday.
When we were dropping off one of Kylee’s friends at her apartment then she presented Kylee with her gift. She had purchased tickets for them to attend a concert that next Friday. Kylee was literally screaming with delight. It was so much fun to watch the joy and excitement that Kylee was expressing. As I continued to enjoy the day with my birthday girl, I definitely had different moments where my eyes were filling with tears. Gratitude poured through me as I thought of how thankful I was that my daughter had now lived to the age of 22. After burying my son, then I celebrate with all of my heart each milestone that both of my daughters reach. I am ever thankful for each experience that they get to have and for each milestone that they reach. I remember being excited about each milestone before I lost my PK, but the gratitude that I feel now for each of my girls is difficult to express adequately in words.
Kylee, MiKayla, Anna Kate, and I went for ice cream before they needed to spend some time studying. The time again was filled with lots of laughter and joy. As I hugged my girls and returned to my vehicle, I reflected on the day and on Kylee’s life. “What an amazing young lady” are the thoughts that kept running through my heart and mind. After all of the sorrow, pain, and grief that she has had to endure at such young ages in her life, my daughter was desiring to reach out to others in love and help them in their own lives. What a blessing it is to hear the joy and laughter in my girl in the midst of all of the pain and loss that she has had to endure. Thankfulness flowed through me the whole way home. What a joy it is to see our children growing and thriving. A favorite quote of mine ran through my mind:
“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Yes! I want my girls to have deep roots that are dug deep into love, family, faith, and great soil. I want them to have wings to soar and shine and use all of the gifts that each one of them has. Ah the goals of parenting: Roots and Wings 🙂
“My children have always been great inspiration for me, and great teachers. They keep me very close to the ground and very humble.” Wayne Dyer
Yes! All three of my children inspire me and teach me. I am thankful for each moment, each milestone, each smile, and each moment that I have had the honor to love them. Thank you to all who have continued to journey with my Kylee in love and friendship. Thank you to each of you who have supported her in prayer, love, and in so many other ways. So excited to celebrate this next year of my daughter’s life! Thank you to each one of you who journey with us! Much love and thanks.