March 13, 2009

Homage to Barbara

(Barbara plays with her new daughter.)

Today is the day I leave my daughter's and head home. Last night after we said our good-nights, I went to my room and wept. She is my only daughter, named for my mother. I know some of that emotion is simply coming to the end of a busy and long week, but some of it is also saying good-bye to someone I love more than my own life.

I admire so much about her. She, even with her heart disease, runs a tight ship--although it feels less so to her currently. The kindergartner nearly always has her clothes chosen for school the night before. The backpack has already been gone through, the papers to come home swapped out for the papers to go back. My daughter, raised in a "we'll be there just in time" household has an iron-clad rule that everyone should be anywhere on time, and ten minutes early is even better. So her child is never late for school and we were there early for pick-ups.

Her laugh is contagious and she ministers well and faithfully to her coterie of friends, many who have returned the favors since her diagnosis with picking up children, play dates, meals brought in and going the extra mile for her. When she was first diagnosed, I wanted to bring her home with me, put her to bed and take care of her children--a mother's impulse that soon gave way to more rational thinking. She has a good man for a husband, and he is good to her. I realized that she had to, in essence, put in motion a giant machine to help her in getting better. But she also had to build that machine, one cog at a time: getting the day care or friends to help with their two-year old son, finding someone to help with housecleaning, finding doctors, and being willing to accept meals and help--a difficulty for a woman who has always taken the meals to others.

But the cruelest cut of all--the realities that this condition imposes on abilities, expectations, and her joie de vivre--has been deep and swift. In this, we both suffer, kicking against these deep pricks of the soul.

Yet, she is radiant and beautiful and so full of love for her children. In short, she is amazing. I'll think of her as I drive home across another desert--the Mohave with its grand sloping from high to low desert--the vista stunning, spare and humbling. I'll think of our busy week, sewing skirts for her two daughters, running errands, our talks throughout the day.

When she was born, I began embroidering her birth sampler, but set the crewelwork aside after a few months, dissatisfied. I started another, a clean-looking cross-stitched design depicting a little pink baby swinging from a pink safety pin. The caption was simple and succinct.

Thank Heaven for Barbara.


  1. What a beautiful post about your daughter and your love for her.
    Thank you for sharing

  2. wonderful, touching and emotional.

  3. What a beautiful post. As the mom of two amazing young women, I am touched by your words. What a blessing to be able to appreciate this relationship.

  4. beautiful tribute. i welled up.

  5. What a touching homage for your daughter!

  6. And what a blessing we has in you, her ultimate cheerleader. No matter how we have benefited from our powerful new tools of technology, there's still nothing that replaces the power of face-to-face.

  7. This post really touched me. I am so glad that you shared this and let us see into your mother's heart.

  8. Thanks Mom! I learned it all from you, remember! Thanks for coming, the house isn't the same with you gone. Thanks for keeping me company, and WE WILL see you soon! Love you!