Whenever I hear of a wonderful BlessBack story, I will feature it on this blog. Today’s guest blog is written by author Kathy Brunner, who I met on LinkedIn. She has written a touching tribute to a woman who cared for her children.
Kathy is offering readers who comment on this post a chance to win a free paperback version of her new release, Finding Your Fire: Get Fired Up, Not Burned Out!, a book that helps you to take your dream, idea, inspiration and make it into a reality. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post of someone who reminds you of Virgie and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win Kathy’s book!
I looked at the names on the paper, crossed out for one reason or another. This one looked too unkempt and if she could not even take care of herself how could I convince myself I could entrust the care of my daughter to her? One did not have reliable transportation. Another responded to the ad without the necessary experience. One appeared gruff and too much of a disciplinarian. Another seemed flighty and unstructured, not even certain where the nearest hospital was, although she had lived in the community for several years. I wondered how I might ever find a caregiver for my sweet daughter so I might work.
A few days later, a young woman called regarding the ad I had placed for a caregiver; but not for her. She told me she was calling for her mother who had been a widow for nearly 15 years and loved children. She thought the position would be perfect for her mother; give her something to do and fill her days. Her mother was in her early sixties!
My mind raced as I thought of the worst-case scenarios. She would not be so agile and drop my baby or fall down the stairs. She might forget she left the stove on and the house would burn down. She might be easily frustrated by a toddler’s activity levels and make my daughter spend the majority of her time sitting in front of the television or leave her in her crib. I was prepared to offer this woman many reasons why caring for my child was not in the cards, but when I opened the door and was greeted by her gentle face with the widest smile, I decided I would at least give her an interview.
Several days later, Virgie DiFrancesca, (Nana to our family) began to care for my daughter while I worked. I was worried my child who was just beginning to talk, would pick up the strong Southern drawl Virgie’s Virginia roots had created, but the only things my little one picked up were amazing manners, a kind heart and a wonderful spirit of adventure, much because of Virgie’s guidance. She spent every waking minute ensuring my daughter’s days were filled with wonderful activities whether it was a walk outside, a craft project or reading a book. We loved our Nana and she stayed with us while we added to our family. Loving my other children in the same amazing way she truly loved my daughter.
Nana was more than responsible, prompt, dedicated and kind. She was the person who allowed me to start my own business because I was confident my children were in wonderful hands. Because of Virgie, I could put in the extended hours my own business demanded and still know my children were happy and well adjusted.
Those were the years my husband traveled extensively and Nana brought organization and predictability to my days.
Although she was seldom asked to do any extra activities, I would frequently come home to vacuumed carpets, folded laundry and the smell of something wonderful cooking.
Whether our dogs or children, she loved them both.
As our family grew our relationship with Virgie and her daughter deepened. My children were in her daughter’s wedding and Virgie’s grandchildren became our Godchildren. We shared holidays, graduations and visits from my parents who lived hundreds of miles away. One day, my mother commented how Virgie was a gift from God, but I had known that for many years.
Without Virgie, I might never have been able to start and grow a business, keep my sanity and still feel my household ran as though I were always there. Without Virgie I might have lost my perspective about motherhood at times or felt overwhelmed by the needs of my family. Without Virgie in our lives, I might have never met such an incredibly wonderful family whose hearts were open to anyone who was in their vicinity.
Eight years ago, I moved several states away from our home and our beloved friends, including Nana. Recently, I hoped to visit Virgie on a trip back “home” however a few days before I made that trip, Virgie passed away. The woman who was instrumental in allowing me to live the life I could only dream was gone forever. It’s a strange thing but my worries were once that she was “too old” for the job and yet the countless years I knew her never seemed to age her. Her spirit seemed eternally young and she always looked like the first day I met her. Many times I would tell her, “Nana when I get to be your age, I want to look as good as you do!”
It’s also strange as I near Virgie’s age when I first me her, I hardly feel “too old” and I wonder if those I meet also worry I might not be able to “do the job.” My heart is more than grateful for the amazing woman who never tried to take my place as the mother but only added to my depth as a person. My children will never forget their Nana and I will never be able to repay the woman whose presence in our lives made us richer and truly blessed.
I wish I might have had that final hug and kiss and shared those thoughts with you one last time, Virgie. I can only offer a blessing back and I know in my heart, God is truly dancing with your return. You were sent by God and His gift of you in our lives was one of the best we have ever received. Rest in peace and the joy you always brought to others. I loved you from the start. I only wish I would have told you that more often.
Kathy Brunner is an author and speaker who now lives in Georgia with her husband who along with Nana’s help have raised three gifts from God. Kathy is the author of ONE MORE SERVING, true stories of individuals who changed the world when their lives were hijacked by a defining moment, and FINDING YOUR FIRE, discover your passion and live fired up not burned out. You can visit Kathy at http://kathybrunner.com or on her blog at http://findingyourfire.blogspot.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/onemoreserving and follow on twitter @1moreserving.
Please leave a comment and tell us who reminds you of Virgie. What do you wish to say to her or him?