Nov. 3rd 2011 began the year known to many as “The Year Everyone Thought I had a Baby”….
Contrary to popular belief (based on COPIOUS amounts of baby pictures taken and posted on Facebook) the child you see in this picture is not my own. Micah David Droppert was born Thursday Nov. 3rd, 2011 and many afternoons and evenings from that day forward to today have been dedicated to holding, feeding, cuddling, playing with, singing to and snuggling my new pseudo nephew.
Now the real question; how exactly does one go about securing a “pseudo nephew”?
Well THAT story goes much farther back in time WAY beyond the last 365 days……
The Fox and the Hound
Tobi-Kay Farrell and I met too many summers ago to count at Camp Kahquah. She was the hard working 16 year-old assistant cook and I the try-hard 13 year old Director’s kid looking for some bleach and a pail to scrub out refrigerators, eager as ever to prove herself and, unfortunately, NOT realizing that bleach stained when splashed all over your favourite green Nike t-shirt. We had no clue as I stumbled into her kitchen that day that we would become intrinsically joined for the next 15 plus years as we continued working at camp, summer after summer for many moons together.
To an outsider, our teenage selves would have seemed so different, (except of course when dressed as identical twins as we did once a week on Banquet Day), she the shy, baggy jean wearing, farm girl who loved to read her bible and I, the loud and well, really loud, program director, crushing on every teenage boy in sight. Although our differences were easy to see, I always felt that Tobi had this deep affection for me. Maybe it is similar to the affection some feel for a tripod animal missing a fourth limb as Tobi was the older and (at least in my mind) way cooler of us two. She always valued my thoughts and we spent hours star gazing many-a-curfew broken night together. We became inseparable over those summers at camp and developed an outside-Kahquah friendship that saw us through high school, three university degree programs (plus some random bible college years respectively), multiple years living abroad, city to city moves, retiring camp positions, marriage and most recently Micah.
Without a doubt, through many changes in my own life, heartaches and happy times alike, Tobi has been THE person I wanted to share my thoughts, hopes and many hours of candy eating and tea drinking with. She knows way more about me than should be legal to know about a friend and she has never condemned my mistakes, even when my errors have hurt her personally. As an only child, Tobi is one of a very small handful of dear friends whom I consider beloved family.
Moms always talk about how they never realized they could love someone so deeply until they gave birth. I know I don’t love Micah like that as it is something special between mothers and their children but when Micah was born and as he has played such a significant role in my life these past 365 days, I can’t help but be reminded of how full my heart is towards him and how much joy his laughter brings into my life. Although I am his Tia (which means Aunt in Spanish) by name alone rather than blood, he holds a special place in my heart and lately, I have been reminded again and again of how fleeting time can be with those we love and how our presence in one another’s lives may only be for a very short season. We take for granted that a year, a month, a week or even a day may be the most concentrated time we ever get to spend together on this earth.
I was privileged to travel as a chaperone with a high school group to Mission of Hope in Haiti this past March Break. The students I spent time with are so young and vibrant; full of life with beautiful futures ahead of them. They are all youth that I am proud to now call friends. This past August, less than six months after meeting and spending a wonderful week together, a student from our team, Kenton Van Pelt, drowned tragically at a summer cottage. Never would I have imagined that those 11 days we spent together as a team would be the only days I would ever spend with such a special young man as Kenton.
I don’t mean these to be morbid thoughts but the reality of life is that we really don’t have any clue what tomorrow holds. For me it begs the question, do I choose to interact with people as if they are precious? If I don’t know how much time I will have to love them do I do my best to love them as fully as I can?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made….
When Micah was born, I was spending a lot of time dabbling with melodies and bible verses I hold dear to my heart. Psalm 139 says;
“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
This song that Tori and I played around with and moulded into our own for our band “Tempest in a Teapot” was inspired by that verse and, when I was first writing it, by Micah’s birth as well. Here we have paired it with Gungor’s “Beautiful Things”.
For me, Micah’s life is an ordinary miracle. People have often jokingly criticized me throughout this past year for the amount of time I spend with Micah, not to mention the number of pictures I take.
Looking back, as Micah turns one year old today, I do not regret all the amount of time I have held him, babysat him, walked him to the park or even just popped over to Tobi and Dave’s house after school to see him for a few minutes. Every moment he and I share is precious and I see that more and more amidst tragedies, illness and even just the separation of people moving and no longer living close enough to see each other every few days. I have been fortunate for every moment spent with my sweet nephew and I think I have decided something important;
throughout my 29th year, I want to treat everyone with the same intentionality I have shown Micah.
When a student reaches out and needs extra attention for whatever reason, I want to give that to them. When my next door neighbour wants to chat, I want to make time to do be there and listen. When my mom and Nanny haven’t seen me all week, I want to be sure to visit on a Sunday afternoon.
Whoever the day brings me, I want to treat them as precious and find time for them as it may be the only time we will ever be afforded.
I want to love and live intentionally, giving myself to those around me as if they were as precious as God says they are.