Ok ya'll. I know. I look VERY young. No crows feet or nothin'. Let's not go there. The point is that this photo literally captures me in the very moment that I am falling in love with this child.
I have been told that when I have my own children, I will feel an even greater love. And honestly, so tremendous is my love for Darby - and for ALL of my nieces and nephews - that it is hard for me to imagine my heart being able to handle much more! And yet I know it will be true. Too many people have told me.
Darby (a/k/a Darby-Doo, Darbs, Doodle, and The Doodlebug) has, within the last year or so, become very involved in the youth group at her church. She has made critical decisions about her faith, and church has become a big part of her already-busy life. Aunt Krissy is, of course, thrilled about this.
Darby's mother (again, my sister Julie) called me recently to tell me that Darby was going to be participating in a 30-hour fast in order to raise money for World Hunger. I immediately felt so proud of my Doodlebug, because she has a high metabolism, and has to eat often. So I knew this would be a real challenge for her.
Julie then went on to tell me that Darby had decided to do the fast at the last minute, and therefore, had not had the time to raise any money for the cause. Julie offered to pledge the money, but Darby felt like that was too easy. Instead, she decided that she would take the $50 remaining from her Christmas money, and contribute that to the World Hunger cause.
Now, let me explain the reason for my "Wow". First of all, $50 is a lot of money when you're 12-years old. Heck, it still feels like a lot to me sometimes. It's a significant amount to give away. Secondly, Darby is a kid who loves to shop. I know how much she would have enjoyed spending that money on clothes and shoes. In fact, when she was younger and I would come and visit her and her family in Georgia, the first thing she would say to me was, "Krissy, did you bring your credit cards?" (Ha, ha. So funny. She has always been a trip-and-a-half, this kid).
The bottom line is that it was a big deal for Darby to give up money and food. And it made me and Julie feel like she is really starting to understand some of the integral aspects of her faith. Sacrifice. Generosity. Selflessness. "Looking not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4).
Anyway, I am so proud, I could burst. What a delight to see this young woman taking the first steps in her faith journey, and doing so with such characteristic cheerfulness.I'll leave you with two pictures. The first is of me and Darby at her 2nd birthday party in 1998. It is important to note that, hilariously, Darby did not smile in any pictures the first two years of her life. I think she thought she was smiling, but she wasn't. This all changed when she was about two-and-a-half, and she has been a major poser ever since.
The second picture is the two of us in the same pose just a week and a half ago on Easter Sunday.