Barbara Houston

August 15, 1937 - February 3, 2009

Barbara's private page for Stephanie

My darling Stephanie

As my oldest daughter you hold a very special place in my heart. Though I love all of my children, and grandchildren equally, you were the one who made me a mother. There is nothing like the experience of bringing a person into the world for the first time.

I remember how excited I was when I found out I was pregnant. It wasn't really common in those days for men to be involved much in pregnancies, but your dad was as thrilled and concerned as I was. Actually he was a little more concerned. You know that nothing could slow me down. He'd panic when I continued to run, climb ladders, volunteer long hours, and ride my motorcycle. But I felt great. And with you inside me I felt more alive than ever.

The day you were born was the happiest moment of our lives up to then. We were amazed by your beauty and your alertness. It felt like you knew us the moment you arrived. We certainly felt like we knew you. We'd been talking to you, reading to you, and playing music to you for months. We just hadn't know what to call you. So until you arrived in the world we just called you "little one". And sorry if it bothers you that the name stuck as a nick name, but we feel so good calling you that. You'll always be my "little one".

I've always been so proud of you in all of your accomplishments, but even more I've been honored that you've invited me to be an intimate part of the struggles of your life as well. You've made difficult and wise choices in your life, and you've become such a dignified, beautiful woman, full of integrity. If you weren't my daughter, I'd want to be your friend any way.

I love Henry as if he was my own son, and the way he cares for you touches my heart deeply. You are both wonderful parents, and even when we disagree about some of the decisions you make, I trust the care you take in raising Faith and Max. They are such precious kids.

I know Amanda is going to test you, probably in many of the ways you tested me. I encourage you to give her some space to stretch her wings and test her limits. She has a lot of energy and a need to express it. She'll need to make her own mistakes, and while I can tell you from experience how much it can hurt to watch your own child make bad choices, it is their choice to make. It's how we all learn.

It would not have been my choice to have you marry so young, experience the heartache of divorce and struggle being a single parent, but all of that has made you the wonderful woman you are today. You are probably a better wife to Henry than you would have been without learning all you did about yourself from going through that. It was tough to stand on the sidelines wishing I had stopped you from marrying so young, but there was no stopping you and looking back I see the gifts that were there for you in many of the challenges. And besides, without that first marriage we wouldn't have Amanda, and I can't imagine life without her!

Max is such the opposite. He's so sensitive and tender-hearted. It going to patience of a different sort to encourage him to stick his toe in the water of life and make his own splash. The more you can expose him to, the more likely he'll be to find his way.

I can't thank you enough for all the support and love you've given me during my battle with Cancer. You've been a rock for me and dad. I don't know what we would have done without all the meals you made for us. Every time I opened the fridge I could feel your love. As grandma use to say, "nothing says lovin like something from the oven". It's been amazing to rely on you, but mostly it's been a gift to have had all those afternoons of tea and talks after my treatments.

You are so special to me, and I hope we have many more years together, but none of us is guaranteed anything more than this moment. And I'm just grateful to have this moment to tell you how much I love YOU!!!

Always, Mom