On January 12, 1992 Evan Noelle Burley came kicking and screaming into the world. People think I’m joking when I say that she cried before she was completely born, but I’m not and at one time I had a video to prove it.
Noelle was baby number 2 which meant she was the person who changed us from a couple with a child into a family. We had to learn to balance. We had to learn to share and take turns. She was a hard worker from the beginning. When she was hungry, she ATE. When she was playing, she PLAYED. When she was tired, she SLEPT. It took her a few months to be happy with this world, but once she settled in, she was a bright spot of fun in every day.
I have to tell you about her name. My grandparents’ last name was Christmas, and my grandmother’s maiden name was Evans. I wanted very much to choose a name that would honor my grandparents — both of them — so I played around with things a bit and we chose Evan Noelle. Later, Noelle was just sure that her middle name was Michelle (Rebecca’s middle name) so she often told people that her name was Evan Noelle Michelle Burley.
Noelle is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. She was determined to keep up with everything her older sister did and she found her gift for physical activity early on. She excelled at soccer and softball. She has challenged herself in school and made great grades in difficult classes. Her heart has always been on her sleeve and she wants to use her college years to prepare for helping families that deal with chronic mental illness.
Noelle was my baby that made me love slings and co-sleeping and every nuance of attachment style parenting. And now she’s 18. We’ve done the Prom Thing, the Senior Night Softball Thing, the Senior Awards Assembly Thing and now we’ll do the Graduation Thing. Of course after that we still have at least one more softball tournament so we won’t be completely saying good-bye to her time at Searcy High until the end of May. In a way, I’m glad because it means I get to hold onto once-upon-a-time-very-attached baby just a little bit longer.