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A daughter grows up, from pink sleeper to red carpet

When my daughter, Sarah, was a baby, I would rock her to sleep each night in the white wicker rocker in our living room that her father had bought me when I was pregnant. One night when she was 18 months old, I stopped halfway up the stairs to her nursery and looked at my precious daughter who was almost too big for me to cradle. Delicate lashes touched her pink cheeks, her body relaxed and trusting in my embrace.

Laurie Schwab

Laurie Schwab, of Eden

She did not sleep through the night until she was 22 months old, but despite my exhausted brain, I knew that this would not last. Soon she would grow up and out of the safety of my arms. “Remember this moment,” my heart whispered.

The years passed too quickly, and many memories were made – birthday parties, sleepovers, vacation bible school, Girl Scouts, camping trips, father-daughter nights, family dinners, school events, carnivals and festivals.

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Tumultuous teenage years had their moments of happiness as we watched her mature from child to adult. There were piano, violin and voice recitals, school plays, proms, driving lessons and a first car purchase.

Life came to a halt when Sarah was 16 and her father had a cancer diagnosis. Our life now revolved around his treatment and our sinking financial situation. After months of worry, his health improved, and he was in remission.

The carefree days of childhood and adolescence attempted to return, but they were often punctuated by the dark shadow that stalked my husband. We held our breath at each visit to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, then relaxed when we were told all was well.

Sarah graduated from Eden High School and went off to SUNY at Fredonia. When she was 21, the curtain dropped, and we received the news that would take my husband from us.

Jerry had many talks with Sarah trying to prepare her for life without him. He told her to not let his death stop her but to keep going and “reach for the stars.” His ability to share his love for us has been a lasting gift. We were by his side at the…

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