Devyn was 2 and I was putting her into the seat of the shopping cart before we went into the grocery store. She insisted on walking. I agreed. We headed to the produce section and she ran away laughing. I scooped her up and put her in the cart. She was furious. "One more chance!" she begged. I refused. She looked at me with her beautiful blue eyes and said "When I grow up and you grow down and I am your mommy....you'll be sorry."
I have always loved the way Devyn sees the world. She was no ordinary kid. She lived in a world of make pretend, which she pronounced rake-a- tend. "Mom rake-a-tend you are Luis and I am Maria" And that was that, for the rest of the day that would be who we were. "Luis, may I have a snack?" "No Maria, it's almost dinner time." She would put on sunglasses with the lenses popped out before she 'read'. When she got a little older, beanie babies were popular. She didn't just collect them, she played with them, but it was more than that. She gave them lives. To keep those lives straight, she made files for each beanie, complete with a picture and vital information. Fetch, the dog, was divorced and lonely and fighting an incurable disease. Freckles the leopard owned a waffle factory but was addicted to smoking.
Today is Devyn's birthday, she is 22. She will be graduating from college in less than 2 months. She is beautiful and smart. She is funny, compassionate and sarcastic. I am proud of her beyond words. It goes without saying that she is a wonderful daughter, but I think her finest role is that of sister.
I know all of our children love each other. But they all love Devyn the best. She is the one they turn to for comfort, understanding or advice. When Devyn went off to summer camp, Maddy fell apart. The entire week, she moped. She said she just didn't feel like herself without Devyn. This did not improve when she got older, when Devyn moved away to go to college, Maddy was inconsolable for months.
When Mikias came home, he loved and bonded with us all but with Devyn it was something more, something fierce. When she walked through the door after school, during his first months home, he would visibly relax in her presence. When he was six, he told me he was going to marry Devyn when he grew up. When I told him that he couldn't marry her because she was his sister, his eyes filled with tears and he said "Fine, I will just stay a child."
Whenever Jemberu sees a young woman who even remotely resembles Devyn, he says "I wish that girl was Devyn." During the Olympics, we were watching the women figure skaters. Jemberu asked me to call Devyn to have her skate on TV, because he would rather watch Devyn, rather than 'those stupid girls'.
Kurt and I adore all of our kids but Devyn did something that changed everything. Twenty-two years ago, Devyn Caroline Noyce came into the world and turned an ordinary couple into a family.