Napkin Notes

Sometimes life trails a finger down our spines just to make sure we’re paying attention.

On Saturday morning, DD and I searched through boxes in the basement to find some baby pics, her baptismal candle and anything else that might dress up the cake table for her confirmation.  It goes without saying that we got wrapped up in time as we fingered a miniature pair of jelly shoes, pink and white hair bands and DD’s baby ring. 

In the bottom of a box, we also came across her birth cards.   One did not fit in with the commercialized cards.  It was not decorated with cutesy sayings, baby booties and rattles in pink and blue.  In fact, it was nothing more than a plain white napkin.  

This simple card read She’s beautiful.  See you soon.

I pointed it out to my daughter and her eyes welled up.  The impromptu card had been written by my dear hubby’s surrogate mom–the mother of his childhood best friend.  At the time of DD’s birth, Barb worked in the medical center and was our first non-family visitor.  She had sneaked a peek in the nursery while the rest of the world slumbered.  There, she penned her warm welcome to our newest family member on a hospital napkin, too excited to wait for a trip to the store.

We packed up and moved shortly after and I hadn’t seen the note since.  Yet, at the time DD and I picked through her infant memorabilia, we both knew that Barb was fighting for her life in hospice.  Ten minutes after we cleaned up our mess, my DH called and told us the news.  Barb had passed away.

She’s beautiful.  See you soon.

In my heart, I know that Barb looked down on my daughter during her confirmation on Sunday in the same way she had gazed in that nursery window almost fourteen years ago.  In the same way she had witnessed DD’s baptism at a ceremony in our shared church.

In my world, guardian angels do exist.  Sometimes they are subtle and we don’t know they are there.  Other times they announce their intentions, sending a blessing our way if only we open our eyes to the possibility.  And I can think of no better gift than the one my daughter received on the eve of publicly confirming her faith.

She’s beautiful.  See you soon. 

Simple words.  Heartfelt sentiments.  A promise for every tomorrow and a gift for a life time.

In life, it is usually the small things that become something grand.  The sweet scent of a daffodil as it promises srping.  The tiny buzz of a bee that signifies honey. 

Notes on a napkin that give hope in a cascade of shivers down the spine. 

My prayer for you, my dear readers, is that you keep your hearts open to the promises around you.  On this day and all those to come.  And never pass up the opportunity to leave a simple note on a napkin.

Because in the end, no matter what our faith or belief systems, love transcends all.  Even in death it lives on in the hearts of those who remember.

~ cat


18 responses to “Napkin Notes

  1. I’m sorry for your family’s loss, delighted in your daughter’s gain and moved by your memorial. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Dear friend,
    Victoria gets it right in her comment.

    I want to add something wonderful and witty about what a lovely person Barb was, but I think her napkined note probably says more than I could in 20 minutes at the keys. My prayer for your DD is that her faith continues to grow and mature, so that one day we can all celebrate together in heaven.

    hugs, bec

    • Bec,

      Thanks for stopping by at this time in your life. You and your family are well loved and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for you.

      Hugs and warm fuzzies~

  3. When I read this post, I had shivers, too! (No kidding!) What a wonderful legacy your friend left. Your daughter will always remember it as part of her confirmation memories.

    • Layinda,

      DD attended the funeral with us today. She was in awe of visiting all her “baby” places, as we had moved away when she was little. Barb’s service took place at the same altar that DD was baptized. It is true that everything comes around full circle.

  4. What a beautiful story. Love is such an amazing, tranforming thing, isn’t it?

    • Jenny,

      It is. My hope is that everyone finds it at some point in their lives. I used to work in nursing homes and home health and have seen far too many people carry out their last days alone. There is no need for it if we are all willing to open up our hearts.

  5. It really is a beautiful story, and you told it so well you even brought tears to my eyes. Nice post, Cat.

  6. Wow! That gave me goosebumps AND made me tear up! I believe that was a bit of destiny knocking for you!

    • Shawna,

      I agree. I think we have so many moments of coincidence, serendipity, karma, etc… the name isn’t important. Just our willingness to see the messages in the moments.

  7. The simplest things make the most moving stories. Lovely, Cat

  8. That was just beautiful, Cat. Simply beautiful. The way you told the story allowed me to ‘see’ it as though I were there. It brought a tear to my eye, too. I think this story is the perfect keepsake for Barb, the napkin, and your daughter.

    • TK, it felt so unreal, as if time was unfolding before my eyes. I remember getting that napkin with my breakfast the morning after DD was born. It brought back so much joy even when I knew the future held heartache. I guess life does that.

  9. I completely teared up, Cat. What a lovely story. You’ve lost an amazing lady – but she will live on with all of you. You and your family have my sympathies.

    Love is always the best gift of all.

    • Jemi,

      Love is definitely the best gift. I wouldn’t trade any of mine for any thing in this world. We have been blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives and in our kids’ lives. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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