Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh Mickey You're So Fine....

I'm not entirely sure how it happened.  I blinked.  And that was it.  She was once a little smidge of a thing and she has graduated.  Oh, I know that a lot that happened in that "blink of an eye", but it feels, in some ways, like that was all it was...a blink.  A flash.  A hiccup.  However, in reality, a grand total of 6659 days somehow flew by in what felt like a mere snap of the fingers.  MacKenzie, my niece, has grown up.

Before the big event!
I was there when she was born.  It wasn't supposed to happen that way, actually.  I was visiting my family over Spring Break, a week or so before she was expected.  In my heart I really wished I was staying longer and figured I wouldn't get to meet my sister's first baby until well after she arrived.  But, leave it to God's timing.  My sister went into labour while I was still on my break.  I had the privilege of being at my sister's side through much of her labour and then, unfortunately, outside the O.R. during the emergency C-section that finally brought Mickey out into the world.  After my brother-in-law, I was the first to get to hold MacKenzie and had the joy of helping with her first bath.  Although my time with this newborn was brief, it was a sweet blessing and honour to me.

Mickey on my lap at my wedding, just before turning 1 year old.
Despite a few months of colicky crabbiness as an infant, MacKenzie has always been a model kid.  One of my best memories of Mickey was driving across the country, from Minnesota to Vancouver, British Columbia.  She was about four years old at the time.  Her parents, Sue and Pat, agreed to help Ken and I drive our moving van, with car in tow, as we moved to go to Regent College.  Ken and I drove from Indiana to Minnesota on our own and then continued on with the Chacich gang as our back-up support and encouragement.  It was quite an adventure.

The moving van, a large U-Haul, was a four seater.  It had two front seats and two rear cab seats, which faced inward toward each other behind some tied back cargo netting.  Now, if you are any good at math, you will have already figured out that we were one seat short for our cross country journey.  In order to remedy this situation, we decided to set a short beach chair on the floor between the two inward facing chairs, thus creating a five seater.  No, we did not make Mickey sit on the floor.  She was safely secured in her car seat on one of the inward facing seats, behind the black cargo netting.  However, given her positioning, her small size (even in the car seat) and the loosely tied cargo netting, presumably available if there was cargo and not people in the rear cab section, the poor little bug could hardly see a thing outside the back cab space, let alone outside the van.  For three or four days she rode like this.  She didn't complain.  She didn't cry (at least not enough for me to remember).  She didn't make a fuss.  She just went along for the adventure, taking it all in stride.  At gas station stops, which were unreasonably long due to a gas tank issue, she "helped" wash windows and chased grasshoppers with her auntie.  She even endured crazy hotel stops that had their own little hiccups and a long wait at the Canadian border.  She was a mini rock star!

MacKenzie is a kid of character.  She cares for others, serving and sharing when she can.  She works hard with honesty and integrity, earning her honour cords for academic achievement.  She has a foundation in faith, not just blindly following, but wanting to understand for herself the spiritual legacy she has been given.  She loves life, laughing at herself and stepping outside of her comfort zone from time to time, rarely taking herself too seriously it seems.  She is a lover of justice who aches over hurts in the world, desiring a job as a nurse, perhaps in an area of poverty for a time.  She loves her family, immediate and extended, making family time a priority and crying when her faraway family leaves from a visit.  I remember far too many of those tears...hating the moment my car would have to pull away from her driveway or when we parted ways to head toward our respective homes.  Mickey is easy to be around, rarely putting herself before others, but often going with the flow...though not so hot at making decisions (the two of us together are hopeless decision makers).  I like to think I'm Mickey's favorite aunt, but she knows she's not "supposed" to have a favorite...I'll just pretend that I am.

Pat, Sue, Jessica (little sis), Mickey, me, Mom, and Dad following Mickey's graduation ceremony.

From a sweet little munchkin of a girl to a lovely young woman, MacKenzie has grown up beautifully.  Although, much to my chagrin, I have lived away from her nearly her whole life, I have been deeply impacted and encouraged by Mickey over the years.  I am thankful for memories etched in my mind and on my heart.  I look forward to hearing Mickey's stories from NDSU and finding out how well she is doing in the adventure of university life.  But, I can't deny that I will be sad to say goodbye at the end of the summer, knowing that I won't see her around near as often as I'd like.  I will miss getting down with her at Zumba and helping her on occasional school projects.  And, family get togethers just won't be the same.  But, I've already told her that I'm happy to come have sleep overs in her dorm whenever she wants me to.  I'm sure none of her friends will think it's strange that her 40 year old aunt is staying over....after all, it was only a few years ago when I was living in a dorm too, wasn't it?

Congratulations, MacKenzie!!  I love you and am so very proud of you.  May God guide you every step of the way as you move into your next blink of an eye.  And know that I am always here for you if you need an auntie to call on.

                   (For the longest time, Mickey thought this song was written about her - an old favourite!)


  1. What a precious little girl...who has grown into a truly beautiful young woman. She's blessed to have a wonderful aunt like you...and lucky to have her own "theme" song for life!

  2. From Birch Lake we send greetings and CONGRATULATIONS to Mickey!! We never get to see this lovely young lady enough and wish her all the best on her next adventure!! Thanks Kathy, for sharing your beautiful tribute to Mickey! We also loved the photos Char sent.
    Daryl and Laura


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