Our 40-Year-Old Oldest Child

Forty years ago plus one day ago, my wife said “It’s time!” I helped her down the steps to our Toyota Corona and we drove to St. Lawrence Hospital on the west side of Lansing, Michigan to begin a few tense and, for her, painful hours of labor and delivery. At 1:21 A.M. on November 8th, Kecia Corin Wolfe arrived and immediately gave us a scare as she struggled to breathe.

Forty years later we struggle to contain our emotions of thankfulness for her and pride we feel because of her. It is a bit strange to realize that you have a child who now has a four in front of her age, even stranger than that moment Carol and I realized we could order off the Senior Menu at the restaurant.

Kecia followed the trend of her mom and also gave birth to three kids. Besides that, she “mothers” and instructs a classroom of third-graders each year, sees their potential, applauds their efforts, and deals with the nonconformists. She has always been a self-motivator, striving to reach that challenging bar that seems ominous.

But more than her grit and punk, Kecia’s character is what brings tears to our eyes and smiles to our hearts. She is a woman of integrity, deeply-committed to her family, dependable for her friends. She has a soft spot for the struggling, shows an urgency in her praying for the afflicted, and strives to be available to listen to the hurting.

In my opinion, her patience is numbing. She goes to great lengths to help her students grow in their learning and also their maturity. Sometimes, however, she has to contend with parents who stepped out of line when common sense was being handed out. She sees down the road and what is best for the student, striving to hold her ground when she can see the ripple effects of bad student decisions on the distant horizon.

She is a person of faith, understanding that there is a strength that is not her own but available to her, an Encourager that walks closely beside her while, at the same time, dwelling within her. She knows Jesus in a very personal way and models Christlikeness for her kids.

As Carol and I look back over the years, we can see how God has shaped her into who she is. We can remember heartaches that wounded her and yet caused her to be sensitive to the stumbles of others. We remember the few times her friends failed her and can see how it has caused her to latch on to the principle of authentic friendship. We remember her successes and see how they instilled in her the excitement of applauding the successes of others.

She has lived a life well for the past forty years and, we pray, as she celebrates this milestone that she will see the coming years as being a continuation of the impact she is having on those around us. Happy birthday, Oldest Child!

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