THE DAUGHTER THAT MADE ME A MOTHER
I’d always dreamed of being a mother—and Heather Lee Connelly made that dream come true on a spring Saturday evening in Starkville, Mississippi. She was a beautiful little one, with light brown hair, a dainty nose and blue eyes. Grandmother Harriett came to visit when she was two days old and pronounced her perfect—even though she said her brown hair “didn’t quite look like our babies” (mostly bald or blonde).
While we were in the Felix Long Memorial Hospital, it seemed like the world turned upside down. That Sunday night President Lyndon Johnson announced he wasn’t running for re-election and four days later, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. A few months later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
Our small world on Santa Anita Drive began changing as we focused on our little daughter. How could one tiny person make two highly educated parents feel so helpless? Each day there were new things to learn how to do for her, new books to read to her, and always, some time just to sit and rock.
I love this photo taken by the pine trees in our front yard on our first Mother’s Day together. My other favorite photo with Heather is this one taken on her wedding day. It was such a beautiful fall day and we were all so happy.
And now it is such a joy to watch her with her own daughter, Charlotte. Heather has never ceased to amaze me with her loving heart, her brilliant mind, her creativity, her generosity and empathy. Happy birthday, Heather!