I've been going through a bunch of files on my old PC and came across the following essay written by my wife, Teresa, shortly after our daughter, Melody, was born. Teresa was suffering from severe exhaustion that, in hindsight, can be linked to the heart issues that eventually took her life, but we didn't know that at the time she wrote this. The TODAY Show was having some kind of contest, which is why Teresa wrote this, but she never submitted it. I posted it on her memorial website at mem.com, and am reproducing it here. And I'm convinced that Melody has been inspired by her mom. Enjoy!
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