When I first heard about this contest on The Today Show, I was sitting in my living room with my mother nursing my four-week-old baby girl. I looked at my mom and looked at Melody Grace and thought, “Inspire me? All this child has done is drain me…of sleep, of energy, of time.” I was in the middle of a textbook case of the baby blues. However, now, four weeks later, I see a different picture; I have been inspired by my baby girl the way only a baby can inspire.
I sat this morning as she napped in my arms and held my hand with her two little ones and thought of all the inspiration she brings. A new baby represents hope, and I have so much hope for our future when I look into her blue eyes. As I watch my parents effortlessly turn into grandparents, I see that she has inspired them to laughter, youthfulness and fun. As I place my infant into my dying grandfather’s arms and see his whole demeanor change, I see how she inspires healing and smiles. Even as I interrupt the writing of this essay to answer her cries, I realize that she is daily inspiring me: to prioritize, to be a better mother, to be a better daughter, a better friend and a better woman, and hopefully, to one day inspire her right back.
--Teresa Shirlen Freed, January 8, 2004