Posted by: karenevoss | October 13, 2011

Growing Older, Growing Wiser

Life has an interesting way of making a memory…

A step back in time to 2005, the year my god-daughter Noelle was born. I became elated! For me, this meant a life I would be able to help nurture and guide spiritually; for her I am someone she could rely on to guide her as she grows up and to provide everlasting love. Although distance separates us, we aren’t allowed to be kept apart. Love knows no boundaries, doesn’t know distances, and can’t keep track of the miles.

Five months after she was born, my boyfriend Russ and I, traveled the couple hundred miles to meet her and to celebrate her new life by Baptism. A milestone for Russ and I as well having recently celebrated our first year of dating, taking our first trip together, and Russ met friends of mine he had only heard me talk about. Most definitely a weekend to remember.

Eight months would pass before we would see her again for her first birthday. Another milestone for everyone it would be. Noelle celebrated the first year of life. Russ and I traveled for the first time together by the Lake Express Ferry and we were now engaged. Noelle began teaching us a few things. Born with dislocated hips, Noelle would endure numerous procedures and surgeries over the next four years to correct the problem. Strength, courage, and an upbeat spirit were just a few things she would share with us. I needed these a couple of years later.

Nearly three years of age, in August 2008, Noelle walked down the aisle as the flower girl at Russ and my wedding. Tossing and petals and walking down a hallway is how she prepared. I love the mini-version of me on our most special day. Her dress looked somewhat like mine, white and sparkly. I cherish the video her dad recorded so I could see this beautiful little lady shine.

My next visit with her would be in January 2009. The visit was the most difficult. I traveled alone. Russ passed away the month prior. Children sense and deal with grief differently from adults. Noelle unable able to understand why “uncle” Russ wasn’t with “auntie” Karen for the first time in her first three years of her life; where he was, she was. It broke my heart when she wouldn’t say his name and was quiet when we looked at pictures. I chose to still talk about him around her. I would later write her a letter explaining that Russ was in Heaven.

Multiple visits over the next couple years would show Noelle’s growth and behavioral changes. Being a Godparent, who wasn’t a family member, makes it more difficult to step in and correct actions or discipline. Being 300 miles away except for two weekends a year doesn’t allow me to see how she is raised. I won’t say I haven’t stepped in when she’s been in my presence. I know I would have to lead by example and so I did. I let her and them know what I won’t do until I’ve finished eating and gave suggestions to my friends who eventually caught on.

On September 27, 2011 Noelle turned six years old. She’s grown up so much in a year. I hadn’t seen here since September 2010 and I hadn’t seen pictures since Christmas 2010. Being able to hold a conversation with her in person and on the phone is so cool! She’s in all day K5 at the big school (it didn’t have preschool). On the Sunday of my visit, she did her homework and so did I. It was fun and her mom took pictures. I made sure I took enough pictures of the weekend capturing the memories of loved ones.

Upon my leaving, Noelle was sad. I couldn’t tell her when I would see her again except that it would be next year, spring or summer. We explained to her all the ways her and I could keep in touch now that she’s older. After I arrived safely home, I called my friends to let them know of my arrival. Her mom told me that Noelle, while still in the car, said she misses me because she loves me. My heart melted all over again, but at the same time it warmed up.

Yes, Noelle has grown older and wiser in the last six years and so have I. We learned from each other how to love, how to adjust to the changes around us, and how to rely on each other for support. Our relationship to each other will continue to change in time, but our love for each other wil only get bigger. I love this girl!

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