I am remembering the day that Susan entered into the world. After laboring for many hours, I awakened to hear that our beautiful baby girl was just born. I named this little one, Susan after my Great Grandmother, Suzanne Baumgartner, the mother of my Grandmother, Katy Murphy. Grandma Baumgartner was a remarkable woman as were so many of the women in our family. Unfortunately, she had maccular degeneration and became blind. She would move from home to home for her adult children to take turns watching over her. When I was lucky enough to visit her at my Grandmother’s house, I would sit at her feet and look up into her face. She loved children and welcomed any little people to come sit with her. She was able to do her own hand laundry and would wash her handkerchief and place it on her head to dry. Pretty amazing. She had unique qualities of resilience, fortitude and kindness.

When Susan was very young, she also visited her Great Grandmother’s house. Great-great Grandmother had already passed. Susan seemed to float around the house as if she belonged there; she spent lots of time in the yard and gave nuts to the squirrels. She seemed to know that part of her heritage lived there in that place on earth. There is a feeling that I was aware that Susan was a reflection of her Great Great Grandmother, Suzanne. Of note, little Susan was also in her Great Grandmother’s house when Mom Murphy (as we called her) passed away at 93 years of age.

I have a story that I would like to tell. When Susan was 2 years old, we lived in an apartment in Cincinnati. We loved to go to the outdoor pool. Susan was very curious and had been walking since she was 10 months old. She was very tiny and everyone could not take their eyes off this beautiful toddler. Without notice, she jumped into the pool at the deep end which was six feet deep. She could not swim. I could not swim either. I jumped into the water and grabbed Susan and held her above my head. My height is only 5 feet, so you can imagine where my head was. A young man saw us struggling and he jumped in and helped us to get to the side of the pool and lifted us up and out to safety. My only thought was to save Susan. I saw the water all around us. But I stood still under the water to hold Susan above the water. I am so grateful that someone was there to lift us up and out.

As I mentioned, the women in our family have some very unique qualities of resilience, fortitude and kindness coupled with an exquisite cognitive brilliance, hidden but always available. It seems that I captured some of the crystal ball intuition and named this precious child perfectly.

Susan, I am speaking to you now, through my writings, to praise your own resilience and your unstoppable drive to change the world and always do the right thing, even when no one is watching. You have gently continued the generations that your Great Grandmothers began for you. It is not unnoticed, that you appeared on this earth at a momentous time, well-equipped for success and fulfillment and a luminous directive for all of us. Thank you, Suz.

Love, Mom