It was September 2007. I was a senior at NNU, spending the weekend in Ontario, Oregon. My boyfriend, Eddie, was starting his new job as worship pastor at a small (to me) church less than an hour from the college. Of course, I wanted to go to church with him, just as we always did before he graduated a few months prior. But now that we weren’t in Nampa together–and I didn’t have a car–things were a little more complicated.
Thankfully, the church’s youth pastor and his wife, Aaron and Kate, invited me to stay with them on the weekends. They were in a similar situation when Kate was finishing college and Aaron was starting as a youth pastor. At first they were just a couple friendly acquaintances with a place for me to crash, but in time they became especially dear to my heart.
When I woke up to get ready for church my first Sunday morning at their home, I was quickly joined in the bathroom by a very inquisitive five-year-old and her two-year-old brother. Little Kyla didn’t care that I was doing my hair and makeup. I was someone new and she wanted to talk to me! And ask questions. Lots of them, in fact. (Little Jacob wasn’t very talkative yet.) It wasn’t long before Kate came along and asked the kids to give me some space. The same thing happened the next Sunday. Soon that became part of my normal Sunday morning routine.
To be completely honest, this really annoyed me. What am I supposed to say to this little girl? How many questions is she going to ask? But after a while I realized the real problem was me: I was selfish and immature. I had no idea how to relate to children, but I needed to learn. Quickly. It took me much longer than it should have, I’m sure, but I eventually found myself laughing along with her and her brother. I could even interrupt her many “Guess what?”s with silly and ridiculous guesses BEFORE she could tell me what she wanted to say! To my surprise, they days when our getting ready routines didn’t align, it felt too quiet!
Less than two years later, after I finished college and a year on my own, Aaron and Kate invited me to live with their family–not just on weekends. A room in the basement to call my own, hooray! I moved to Ontario with them, got a job, and taught Kyla and Jacob art lessons. Before long, Eddie and I were planning our wedding. If either of us had a niece or nephew, they would’ve been the obvious choice for our flower girl and ring bearer. But it seemed just as natural for Kyla and Jacob to fill those roles.
I wish I had better savored those last few months with their family before the wedding. I didn’t realize how much I would miss them all in general, putting the kids “in the fridge” (wrapping them in a blanket and laying them by the fireplace), movies and games with Aaron and Kate, or trying not to laugh at Kyla and Jacob making silly faces instead of eating their dinner. However, I’m extremely grateful for their continued friendship over the years. I can’t even tell you how thankful I was that they were able to stay here in Ontario when Aaron was called to a different ministry. I love our Wednesday night group, my oldest daughter’s friendship with their littlest girls who came along later, and having Kyla and Jacob in teen quizzing. I’m especially fond of all my quizzers (past and present), but somebody had to be the first two children I truly loved. And still love. You know what I mean!
Fast forward to 2019. I made it through Kyla’s senior photo session without crying, but she and I did have A BIRD POOP ON US!!!! It flew out of a tree and we were like, “Um, why do we feel like we got sprinkled on just now??” Then we saw the little dots on our clothes, and we couldn’t help but laugh. Later, when I got home, I was about to hang my sweater back up as I thought, “I’ll wear this a second ti–oh yeah!” Ha ha ha!
Since Kyla is a very talented and hard working violinist, it only made sense to include her primary instrument (she also plays piano!). The stage and red curtain at the Snake River Heritage Center in Weiser, Idaho held special significance to her, not only because she’s performed there, but she’s also involved in drama. So we had some fun with that! So did Kate! 🙂 We finished off our evening at the pond, and then did a few quick shots on the bridge after dark. This was so much fun for me! I mean, photographing seniors is always fun for me. But when it’s someone extra special, it’s a huge honor!
Kyla, I pray more and more people come to know the beauty of your heart and that you, too, will know how cherished you are, by Jesus Himself, and all of us. I love you.
So violin and fiddle are NOT the same thing, but this door seemed too perfect to ignore!
Quick tangent: when I worked as a yearbook photographer in college, I got to photograph several students who were selected for Who’s Who Among American College Students. Some of my favorite shots I took for that were of Carly (some of you friends know her) in the Emerson Auditorium. The Snake River Heritage Center’s theater reminded me of those days at NNU!
Hey, why not, right?!
I agree, this wouldn’t be complete without a really silly picture!
On top of the letter board are shoes that Kyla wore as a baby!