Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On The Horizon

Missing my mother’s presence in our daily lives has become part of the landscape. The landscape that is in front of us every day: the horizon. Always there, and so not necessarily noticed acutely. But lingering in the distance. Certain things bring our awareness to that landscape: a beautiful sunset. A building storm. Such it is with mom’s departure from this earthly life on December 26, 1992. Coming up on 17 years: sixteen Christmases without her approaching, and then too, they shall pass. Today there is a beautiful sunrise on that horizon. Her name is Sarajane, or Sj for short. She is my beloved niece, daughter of my beloved sister.

Sj was just a baby, six months old, when my mother passed. She shares the same middle name as I do with my mom: Louise. I think that gives me special license to claim her as my honorary daughter, since I did not produce one to claim as my own. Sj is in her senior year at Pullman High School: the alma mater of all three of the Harwood kid clan, including myself. Fortunately enough time had passed since our generation was there so she had the opportunity to create her own reputation. And she has done it well.

Sj has been named the Chamber of Commerce Student-of-the-Month for January. This on the wings of lettering in swimming and being named to the All-Conference Academics First Team. She is currently taking a few college classes for running start, while being involved in all the Sr. class activities at High School. Despite all these incredible achievements, Sj is humble and uniquely herself. She is a leader, not a follower and has a reputation of being good to all kids, not focusing on the “in crowd.” In this light, she takes after her mother in every way. She communicates easily with folks of all generations, which is really something to admire in this day and age.
Raising such a wonderful kid is the result of dedication of her two wonderful parents. Sj and her brother Rob, another object of my pride, have parents who are involved: Mark coaches various sports teams, has always helped in getting the kids to the numerous activities they are involved with, and encouraging them in all they do. They, Mark and Julie, are a real team playing hard for their kids. I am so proud of my sister, who figured out the right balance of encouraging, pushing when needed, but not too hard, and living a beautiful example for Sj to learn from.

Sj’s future, after High School, is still being planned. There are some exciting opportunities that she is looking at. The world is truly her oyster. I’ll keep you posted on how that maps out. But for now, I just want to share, with pride, my wonderful niece. And humble admiration for her parents. My mom would be so proud of the person her beloved granddaughter has become. And so impressed with my sister and her husband, Mark, in the effort and dedication it took to get her to this place. This morning, there is a gorgeous pink sunrise over the lake. It’s bitingly cold out. But the beauty of the sunrise and this latest news of Sj’s accomplishments places mom on the horizon, beaming with pride and love for Sj and her family. And I, soaking it all in, am beaming too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, man! That is SO powerful and loving. Thank goodness Sj has her wonderful aunt to be a role model, friend, guide. We all are very blessed!