I've known Nicki since she was a sweet, pretty little girl stationed with her family in Kitzingen, Germany. Her family quickly became my family; her mother, a sister I never knew I had... My daughter, Isabel, the baby sister they always wanted.
I remember when Nicki first started kindergarten and how she used to race home in the afternoons and burst through the door bringing with her all the bubbly excitement of her day... Her love and enthusiasm was infectious. I remember how she would greet her little brothers and then run to see tiny Bella -- and I can still remember the melody of her angelic little-girl voice as she sang out sweetly, "Hi Isabel!"
Just outside of the front door to her home, I remember her mother had hung a decorative house that read, "Home is where the army sends us" and so true... though it's been many years and we've spent much of that time far apart, Nicki, her mom, dad, and brothers have remained family and even from a distance I've watched as she has blossomed into a beautiful, genuine young woman and her brothers, considerate and handsome young men.
But I will always remember Nicki as the kind, fresh-faced little girl who was always concerned for others and wanted little more than to see everyone around her happy.
And now she is a senior in high school, attending prom, and graduating next month to begin her own journey through life with the world at her fingertips and magic in her eyes...
And isn't she gorgeous?!!
Age is opportunity no less,
than youth itself, though in another dress.
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled by the stars invisible by the day.
...Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus