Kayleigh Elaine turns 6

by Kristi Van Dyk


When we were thinking of names for our baby my high school English teacher's words rang in my ears. "Your parents named you for a purpose. Your name has meaning. Find out what it is and be prepared to explain how you've lived in to that name." (that's a paraphrase, but it was something like that).

I wanted my children to have a meaningful name - a reason for which they were quite familiar - as to why we called them what we did. Our firstborn, our Kayleigh Elaine is our "pure light." She was named so because, if she was a girl, we hoped she'd remain pure and focused - intent on her Lord - not letting the distractions of this sinful world cloud her heart, her mind or her body. We also prayed that, should Steve's Grandma's cancer continue on its difficult trajectory, our little girl could serve as a light in the dark times ahead. It was an added bonus that Steve's Grandma's middle name was Elaine - but she preferred it to her first, so most people knew her just as Elaine. Her life was a light to many people - her love for literature and children was a beacon - and we prayed all of those things would be qualities our baby daughter could one day embody. 

On the eve of her sixth birthday, I'm reflecting on the ways that Kayleigh has lived into that name, even at six. 

  • Like her late Great Grandma Kayleigh has a love of books. She has a voracious appetite for reading. She's read several Beverly Cleary chapter books independently, she is almost through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as a read aloud, and she just sat on the couch this afternoon and read three books to me in Mandarin Chinese. She simply can't get enough ... I think that would make her Great Grandma quite proud. 
  • In the typical sense of the word Kayleigh is a purist. She lives in black and white. She loves clear cut boundaries. She enforces concrete guidelines and takes great satisfaction in checking off a list in its entirety. I don't know that that was the intent our intent for her in the "pure" definition, but she surely lives in to that. 
  • We have heard from many people that Kayleigh is a joy to have around. She cares for people, she looks after others and has a heart for those who need a boost.
  • Kayleigh understands her faith. She loves her Lord, and she loves finding ways to speak God's truth into her own life - and the lives of others. She faithfully reads her Bible each night and meticulously completes her devotion questions. She memorizes scripture and loves singing the truths of God in lyrics and music. Her understanding is far beyond the typical 6 year old (at least we think so) and we pray that God uses this for His glory. 

We pray that Kayleigh continues to grow to be an incredible light for Jesus, and we can't wait to see what her future brings. 


This year's birthday events:

  • American Girl Place with Nana and Mommy for her first AG doll, lunch at the cafĂ©, the books and dress. Mommy and Daddy chipped in for an additional outfit (early Christmas). We took the train, did lunch, walked around Chicago and took the train back. It was an amazing day
  • Friday night family party missing Auntie Sarah, Auntie Alaina, Uncle Dan, Ryan and Beckam. But, enjoying Kate, Nana, Pa, Daddy, Mommy, Benny, Maddie, Grandma V, Grandpa V, Great Grandpa, Auntie Maria, Uncle Dan, and Everett. 
  • We tried Second Floor Bakery for the cake this time and it was a smashing success - we will back to them for future birthdays. 

This year's birthday questions: 

  1. How old are you? Six 
  2. Who is your best friend? Kate Witte
  3. What is your favorite thing to do? To do crafts
  4. What is your favorite color? Purple
  5. What is your favorite food? Pizza or tacos
  6. What do you like to do with your family? Play outside, go to Maranatha/Slayton Lake
  7. What is your favorite toy? Isabelle
  8. What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor
  9. What makes you happy? Family, friends, reading
  10. What makes you sad? Anger, someone getting made, making mistakes
  11. What is your favorite show to watch? Care Bears
  12. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter
  13. What do you love to learn about? Chinese!!!
  14. What was the best part of your birthday? Going to the American Girl Place in Chicago
  15. Where do you like to go? To school, to Owen and Kennedy's house, to church
  16. Who is your teacher? Zhang Lao Shi
  17. What is your favorite treat? Chocolate - anything chocolate, and hot cocoa
  18. What do you think about before you fall asleep? Usually the next day and whats coming up.
  19. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Carrie Underwood
  20. What was your favorite birthday present? Isabelle