Love was very important to Sarah. Her childhood years created a quiet song of kindness and compassion, one she would teach all of us to sing. When she was given a candy bar, she shared the greater portion. When her two younger sisters argued over a toy, she would step between them and say: “Be Nice!” On days when I was overwhelmed with the nonstop responsibilities of motherhood, she would pat me on the back and say: “It….It…will be okay…”
Maybe her love for love was why she developed a fondness for fairy tales. As a little girl, she was fascinated with Cinderella and Snow White and Belle, and all the other make believe maidens who were transformed by the power of love.
One day, as we read Snow White, she pointed to a picture of a crowned princess dressed in a powder blue gown. “Mom…that’s…that’s me!” She stuttered. She jumped up and danced around the family room like a ballerina. “I’m…I’m…loved” she proclaimed.
As she moved into her teenage years, Sarah began penning her thoughts on the inside covers of her fairy tale books. Each afternoon, when she arrived home from her special education class, she would sit at her desk wearing a crown and one of my old bridesmaid gowns. Sometimes as I passed her room with a laundry basket, I would take a peek at her misspelled messages: My name is prnccess Sarah…I alwys fllw my dreams…Someday my prince will com…
One day she wrote: “ I have a pirfict life“ on a pink indexcard. I smiled. Sarah had her own way of spelling perfect.
My daughter’s appreciation for life brought me great comfort, especially on days when I couldn’t help but worry about her future. “Sarah, you have such a pure heart.” I would tell her.
“I know…” she would say, her slanted eyes shimmering.
During Sarah’s twenty three years on earth, she never once lamented about what she couldn’t do. Instead, she read love stories. She shared kindness. She wrote beautiful messages. She dressed up on ordinary afternoons. She danced. She smiled. She saw goodness in her imperfect life.
Were there days when her disability was hard on me? Did I have moments when I wished everything was different? Was I ever angry at God? Of course. But now that Sarah is safe in God’s arms, I can’t seem to recall the hard days. Maybe that’s because her life is now a montage of memories, all of them suffused with love.
These days, when I wake up in the morning, I remember the lessons that Sarah taught me. Even on bad days, when I would rather stay in bed grieving her loss, I remember that I am a princess too.
Yes, Sarah taught me that life is a pirfect gift. And each day it waits to be opened.