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Gotcha Day

August 31, 2015

This July, we celebrated two relatively unknown holidays. For the rest of the world, our celebration did not create even the tiniest blip on the radar. Yet for two young ladies, Gotcha Day is a huge part of their lives. The background story on this is one that meshes well with our family’s concept of “created family” – friends become “aunts and uncles” and mix in a few “adopted” grandparents and college age sons. God planted amazing people in our midst, including one cousin to my husband. Growing up, they were not that close as he was older than my sweetie, but “Uncle Bryan” as my girls call him has a younger sister who was Daniel’s closest confidante for most of his growing up years.

Uncle Bryan and his wife, Michelle, really impressed us as a young couple. They were and are amazing parents, and ones whom in our earlier years, we hoped to emulate. Our decision wasn’t difficult when we asked them to be Reed’s godparents. They were tops on our list. Along with another set of dear, dear friends, Lorrie and Jay, Bryan and Michelle were Reed’s godparents. All four grieved along with us as we said good-bye to the redheaded sunshine of our world when he passed away at age 12.

All of our other children have incredible godparents, including the younger sister mentioned earlier. A few years ago, Sally was really missing Reed and figured Uncle Bryan was too. At our family reunion, she wandered out to the fish cleaning shack and put forth a proposal. Would you be my godfather too? I am fairly sure that he had no idea that was coming, but he readily agreed to step in and love her the way he had and continues to love Reed. In that one precious moment, Gotcha Day was created.

Fast forward two years and once again; we are at our family reunion, sometimes referred to as Nowatzki-palooza, because of the sheer numbers of us present. During the previous two years, Sal had opportunities to do things with both of her godfathers; conveniently both named “Uncle Bryan” to her. At the reunion, she could not wait to cuddle up with Uncle Bryan and see what was happening in his world. Our family reunions are all-day and well-into-the-night affairs. After Sally gave her good night hugs to those around the campfire, our Sister saddled up next to Uncle Bryan. The two have shared a good repartee of banter from the moment she first got a cell phone. For her grateful daddy, most of his advice centering on boys, making good choices, and encouraging her in sports.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Sister shared with him how much her little sister loves him and how she wished she had that. Sadly, her godparents divorced in her toddlerhood. Watching her brothers interact with their godfathers, she was always wistful for the same.  In the middle of the night his heart melted, the man who took on one . . . took on another.

By morning, I learned that Erin had a new godfather with a very familiar sounding name. Uncle Bryan stole her heart, which is hard to do for a teenage girl in a technologically, clambering world. Tears in my eyes, I added another Gotcha Day to the calendar.

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Although our Gotcha Days are one day apart, the love shared binds together three hearts, and the driving force behind their creation flows deeply from the heart of one incredible godfather. As a mom, I could not imagine a more wonderful solution. More importantly, I believe a redheaded young man looks down from heaven and smiles that old familiar grin at this arrangement, more than happy to share his godfather.

bryan and erin

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