In each child, God whispers a new secret to the world; adds a new dimension of immortality to creation. -Ven. Fulton Sheen
For the past 16 years, I have been picking up kids each afternoon after school in the church parking lot at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School in Fishers. The white flag is currently being waived, because I am in the midst of my final lap. A month from now, my youngest son will be a graduate and my time in that line will be complete. The last little girl to ride in the “Thieme-mobile” is a sunny 5th grader named Lily. She’s pictured above with her dad, Grady Dunlap, who’s also a pretty solid human!
When we moved to our current home a few years ago, Lily was much smaller than she is now, but she was just as light-filled. She’s outgoing and very chatty. Since my house has always been a little overflowing with testosterone, Lily and her myriad of hair accessories, girlfriend stories, and general enthusiasm for life has long been a breath of fresh air. She makes me grin!
When the current group was a little younger, I was able to easily draw them in with my carpool game of “highlight/lowlight”. I would always ask the kids to share with me either a highlight from their day, or, if the day really was just rotten, to feel free to share what frustration was on their mind. One can really learn more than they might want to know sometimes with this dangerous line of questioning!! Ha? Invariably, though, Lily would come bounding in the car during those early years saying “I wanna go first today, Mrs. Thieme! I have some really good highlights!!” Usually, the boys would roll with the punches, but occasionally, her older brothers, Sam and Matt, or my Zach would roll their eyes at her and say something about how she needs to give someone else a chance. I’d try to give the boys a chance now and then to share first, but I’ll be honest, those sparkly eyes and that sunny grin are pretty darn hard to resist!
Lily Dunlap is an extraordinarily bright young lady who is also polite and cheerful. She loves to play soccer and I have seen her fierceness on the basketball court too. She’s a big fan of my occasional DQ runs and always respectful, kind and grateful. When I have extra passengers along for the ride, Lily, realizing she’s physically the smallest, always volunteers to climb into the back row of seats. In all this time, I’ve never once heard her complain about it. I can’t say the same for any of my three boys over the years! This is a faith-filled young lady who is filled with goodness.
While I am looking forward to gaining back an hour of my afternoons after 16 years starting next fall, I will most certainly miss the smile and sunshine of Miss Lily in my backseat. She’s a refreshingly charming and a truly terrific young lady! I’m hoping maybe I’ll get a chance to catch up with her now and then when the neighborhood kids gather for basketball in the driveway, but my life these last few years has certainly been sunnier because of making the acquaintance of one Lily Dunlap! I think you’re just awesome, Lily!