Last week we went to Rexburg to celebrate Zoey’s graduation from BYU-I. We got there on Sunday and got to spend a couple days just hanging out with Zoey and Reece as we waited for graduation. Throughout our time with them I just kept marveling at who she has become.
Graduation was on Wednesday and Thursday was her birthday. During the week she had to study for finals, take the finals, prepare for graduation and entertain us. She was so amazingly calm and prepared to take it all on. Previously, I would have expected her to be a bit of a basket case but she was in total control of the situation. On top of all that, one of the little girls in her primary class had a birthday on Tuesday so she took time to make cookies and had us all walked down to her house to sing Happy Birthday.
I have been trying all week to write this post about her and I just can’t get it right. I can’t adequately put into words how she has grown over the last couple years. Zoey has always been this ball of emotion and energy that would bounce around this world like one of those super balls, ping-ponging around like chaos in physical form. It appears my little Squirrel on Red Bull has gotten off the juice and found a focus.
I am very proud of her for so many things but right this moment two things stand out. I am proud that she stuck it out in school and earned her degree, and has a plan to continue on with her education. She didn’t always want to be in school nor could she always see the reason she needed to be there but she trusted in the answers she received and pressed forward.
I am also very proud of the relationship she is building with Reece. It is amazing to me how being around the right people can affect change in us. He is this great calming influence on her because she trusts him completely. Without reservation she knows that his only concern is her welfare. She reciprocates this love with her dedication to him.
One of the really cool things that happened before they got married was a talk Zoey had with Reece’s mother. In essence Mary told her, “I have raised Reece to be a good man. It is now your responsibility to support him and encourage him to continue to grow.” I think that scared her a little but she has accepted that responsibility and is trying to become the best partner in this relationship that she can be. I like the partnership, I think they are great and are going to do great things together.
It has been fun to watch those two start their married life learning how to love and support each other. They have done a great job of making a plan and getting to work. They have learned to adjust and find a way, they don’t give up when they find a flaw in their plan, they just adjust and keep moving.
Sunday at church one of the speakers talked about persevering through difficulties and tests. He told a story about playing basketball in high school and going to the free throw line with no time on the clock and a chance to win the game. He talked about how he remembered all the training and practice he had done in preparation for that moment. His first shot went in to tie the game but he missed the second, they went into overtime but his team eventually lost. He talked about how missing that second shot and then losing the game affected him, he struggled to keep on playing the game he loved.
If you know Zoey or have read my other posts about her you will know that she has had her fair share of successes but those successes have always come after she has persevered through difficulties. I don’t mean that she has been picked on or her life has been one long stream of trials and problems, it is just that there always comes a point where things are hard and she has to consciously decide “this is worth it.”
So last week Zoey had a birthday. Happy Birthday! She also officially graduated from BYU-Idaho. Congratulations! During her time in Rexburg she discovered the life she wants and the partner she wants to share it with. Together they have graduated from being individuals to being one and have learned that it is “worth it” to put someone else first. Even greater Congratulations!
I love you Zoey Bell Bown!