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Baby flies...

How did this happen?
I knew it would.

My Kate. Little Red. Baby Cakes.
She's in Germany, on the autobonne. Heading to a Mercedes-Benz factory.

I always knew she'd go far.
Not "going far" as in being successful, although that's a certainty as well.
But literally. Going far...far away from lil Walla Walla.

This child has had the world by the tail since before she could walk. She was born into it. Dave had waited through four pregancies before getting his girl. He adored her without reservation. And so did her brothers. On Grant Street, the sun rose and set on a little girl with copper ringlets who wrinkled her nose and stamped her foot and filled our house with sweet giggles.

She was always a little miffed when the rest of the world didn't stop on a dime for her. She fully expected it should. She was a keen observer and a real thinker. At preschool they thought she was shy. Far from it. She was carefully watching and considering. She could describe the actions, thoughts, emotions and motivations of her classmates. She's always been one to look below the surface. To never take things at face value.

When she was barely five she said, "Mommy, is Santa Claus real?" Our policy had always been to be truthful. Our culture is saturated with that stuff and we tried to help the kids sort out what they believed. So I said, "What do you think?" With Zach, this had led to a long discussion about the probabilities of reindeer flying and how to factor in the changing of time zones around the world. When I asked Kate the "what do you think" question, Kate put her hands on hips, in a pose that was already signature, and said, "I didn't ask about what I thought. I asked for the truth." Okay. Okay. This was going to be different.

And different she was. Delightfully so. Dave said, "She has music in her head that only she can hear," as he watched her dance across the floor. Like Dave, she rarely walked. Step-ball-change, cheney turn, leap, glide, bounce, twirl, skip. But not walk.

Her brothers love life in Walla Walla. Kenny is fiercely loyal, and Zach likes the pace of life here. Slow and rolling, like the hills that surround the town.

Not Kate. She regularly asks to move to Seattle. She loves the big city life. The noise, the people, the lights, the hustle & bustle. She was perfectly at home in Chicago, not awed by the skyscrapers, not at all amazed by the fact that you had to take TWO elevators to get to the top. Not intimidated by the El or the taxis or the airports, navigating her way like an expert. Completely in her element. "I love it here," she beamed. "I can tell, baby, I can tell." Her sense of confidence is amazing.

The big world calls to something in her. And she responds. She wants to see it all. Go everywhere. Do everything. I always knew her inner landscape was wider than most. She reaches for things that others can't see, or even imagine. I knew those wings, curled in and waiting, would stretch out someday and carry her away. I just didn't know it would be so soon.

She's off to Germany and Spain. She'll be gone a month. A month. And she'll be fine. She has talents that world travelers need. She can pack for a month is a small suitcase. She can find all the important signs. She never gets lost. She gets me un-lost all the time. She doesn't worry.

Me, I worry. Not about her. About planes and weather and people in too-fast BMWs. About e-coli and sunburns and all kinds of things. But her? No. That little red has the world by the tail. And if the world knows what's good for it, it will cooperate.

Fly high, baby girl. My love is in you and my prayers surround you. This is just the beginning.


  1. Chelle,
    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful young woman. You and I have talked a time or two about how it can't even be sad for us because they are so ready and so happy. I will pray for her this month but I too know she is ready and she will be safe because of the wonderful family that brought her into this world and have nurtured who she is today. Loves to you mamma and brothers. Hugs, Sue Clark


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