Mark and I are blessed to have so many wonderful nieces and nephews and we truly love all of them. In fact, I could write something very special about each one of them if I had more time. Today I’ve decided to write about our youngest niece, Katelyn.
When Katelyn was born I was excited to be at the hospital with her mother, my youngest sister, Mary. Shortly after we arrived at the hospital Mary was rushed into the delivery room because both her and Katelyn were at risk. They both survived the delivery but Katelyn was taken to DeVos Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Baby Katelyn survived and eventually had a shunt put in her head to regulate the amount of fluid going to her brain.
Katelyn has always been special to us but about five years ago Mark and I started spending more time with her. Katelyn started calling us every night to see how we were doing. At first she didn’t have much to say so our conversations were pretty short. Now when she calls she has a lot to share with us.
Katelyn’s world is full of love, beauty and exciting events everyday. She has a family that loves her unconditionally and she feels it. Whenever we see her she is shy at first but can’t wait to give us a tight hug. Sometimes she will call us three to four times a day and leaves the most beautiful messages. Katelyn is concerned about my health and always asks how I am feeling and always says, “I hope you feel better tomorrow.” If we talk with her she always follows our conversations with a lovely text message that says, “I love you guys with all my heart!” or “I will always love you and Uncle Mark and your kids. I hope you get better soon.”
Almost two years ago Mark and I thought it would be fun to open up Katelyn’s world for her 17th birthday so we took her on an adventure to Chicago. We wanted to expose her to as much as we could during our overnight stay downtown. We did many things but one of the things we did was eat sushi. Katelyn politely ate the sushi for us but probably would have enjoyed pizza so much more.
Oftentimes instead of us opening Katelyn’s world, she opens ours. I know she enjoyed her Chicago adventure but what Katelyn really loved about her trip was so simple. She just loves spending time with the people she loves and really doesn’t need all of the frills.
Another important part of Katelyn’s life are her amazing teachers at Reeths-Puffer. Last month Katelyn invited Mark and I to attend a field trip at Snug Harbor so we could meet her teachers and friends. When we arrived at Snug Harbor an excited Katelyn saw us and ran up to greet us with a beautiful bouquet of flowers that she and her dad picked up the night before. She immediately pulled us over to meet a few of her favorite teachers and some of her friends. She was beaming with excitement and was so proud that we all got to meet each other.
Katelyn will graduate from Reeths-Puffer next year and we will be proud to see her walk across that stage.
“Success isn’t how much money you make but how much of a difference you make in people’s lives.”
Katelyn has made a big difference in our lives.