Monday, November 29, 2010

My Shining Star

Sophia Louise. My beautiful girl. When she was 2 years old a friend of Bob's commented that Sophia lit up the room, that she had a sparkle about her. From the moment she was born, she had a way of attracting people to her. The nurses in the hospital couldn't wait to hold her (beautiful peanut they called her). I remember standing in line at Walgreens and Sophia, not even a year old, pretended to cough until she had everyone in line in front of us looking back at us. When her goal was accomplished she radiated the biggest smile and giggles ensued. She has made audiences of strangers laugh until crying in reaction to her light-heartened, belly bursting giggles. She really can light up a room.
This weekend Sophia sang in the Boulder Nutcracker, in the beautiful Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. Ever since I can remember, this has been Sophia's dream: to be on stage with a big audience. I remember taking her to a show when she was not more than 5 and she cried. I asked why she was crying and she said that she was upset that she wasn't on stage! The Nutcracker was her first experience to be on a real stage with such a large audience. She sang with about a dozen other children. As a friend said afterwards, the choir sounded like angels.

I surprised myself by getting  teary-eyed seeing my daughter from afar. At the age of 9 she is already pursuing and achieving her dream. And with such grace and sweetness and joy. I don't honestly know where she gets the desire to be on stage, it certainly is not from me. However to see her now in front of an audience is really no surprise given that from the moment she came into this world she has had a way of making people smile. And in so doing, adding a bit of sparkle to the world.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Keeps You Going?

Bob's step-mom Esther passed away last Friday. What a lovely woman she was. She lived 91 years and while her body slowly deteriorated over the last few years, her mind remained strong and her sense of humor never wavered. Since I lost my mom 15 years ago and Bob lost his mom 30 years ago, Esther filled a very important role in both of our lives and our kids lives. She is the only grandmother our kids have ever known.

I took a trip out to Phoenix this last September to help take care of Esther while Wayne went in for surgery. I helped her get to the bathroom, take a bath, cut her nails, washed her hair, brought her meals. As she aged, she went back to being cared for, just as we come into the world, needing others to care for our basic needs in order to survive. She liked me being in the room with her while she slept. It gave her comfort just knowing I was there. And when she awakened she would reach out and I would hold her soft, gentle hand. I felt so much at peace while at her side.

While I was there, her good friend, Joyce stopped by. I asked Joyce "what keeps Esther going?" She didn't know. She said how many times over the last couple of years she thought Esther would pass, but then she would come back full of life again, albeit a bit weaker each time. I then asked Ester the same question :"What keeps you going?" She smiled and said "Habit I guess. I just keep breathing, that's what I've always done, so I just keep doing it!" Later that evening Wayne came home from the hospital. I insisted that he rest and so he went to bed to take a nap. A bit later I peaked into their bedroom to make sure he was indeed resting. And what I witnessed brought genuine tears to my ears. Wayne was sound asleep with his kitty next to him on one side and Esther, sound asleep, curled up next to him with one arm around his chest and her head resting peacefully on his shoulder. It was a beautiful, tender moment. And that answered my question. What keeps her going? Wayne. Love. Adoration. Respect. Life shared with another.

Esther broke her hip last week and quickly went down hill from there. She was in a lot of pain and I am thankful that she allowed herself to transition to the next realm. Bob flew out to be with his dad and attend the funeral. He came home last night and presented me with Esther's engagement ring. Esther's daughter, Rhoda, and Wayne both felt that Esther would want me to have it. I will wear it with the memory of Esther's special wit, wisdom and love. Thank you Esther for being in my life.