Give up the Guilt – A Tribute to my Daughter

The early summer sun shone bright upon her stone. I sat quietly, contemplating my latest mishap while slowly plucking the overgrown flowers from the spring pansy basket. As the cool Cape wind blew, I heard a distant voice in my heart whisper “It’s okay…don’t be so hard on yourself.” Clearly mom was speaking to me and while I wished very hard that I could see her in person, there was no mistaking the sage advice she was offering – “Mom’s are people too – what we think are BIG mistakes in this life are really trivial. Let it go and move on.” As I wiped away the sadness from my eyes, I turned back one more time to give her stone a glance and nodded in silent agreement.


Earlier this week the Montrose yearbooks came out. As a senior about to embark on her college adventure, my Emma was excited to look through the book which captured her high school journey.  Even more, seniors have the special privilege of having tribute pages dedicated to them from their families – a very special tradition.

The phone rang as I sat in my office on Wednesday. “Mom – why didn’t you put a tribute page into the yearbook for me?” “I am sure we did Emma…look again.” (pause) “Nope mom – I don’t have one from my parents – I looked.” Panic set in and I respond “Well – um, um, um I am so sorry Emma. I guess with Nona’s passing I missed the deadline and it slipped through my fingers. Please forgive me.” After several more minutes of apologies, I hung up the phone feeling horrible. Emma was very gracious and understood that this past year (several years) has been extremely difficult for us and she realized how this small, yet important act, had slipped our minds. Even so, my heart broke and I felt so guilty. These feelings hung on for several days until I decided to pray and think about what my beautiful mom would say.


Love is to will the good of the other. Mom would remind me that I didn’t need a tribute page in the Montrose yearbook to remind my daughter how much she is loved. Mom would tell me that there is no room for guilt in a mother’s life. She would remind me that mom’s do a myriad of things daily out of love for their children. Finally, mom would offer “Love is the answer Jennifer – Emma knows how deeply you love her. Don’t get sidetracked by this insignificant thing. If it means that much to you – offer her a tribute now.”


Thank you mom – you are right! And yes – I would like to offer Emma the yearbook tribute that I had promised. Here goes:

Dear Emma,

Dad and I are extremely proud of the young woman you are and will become. Your deep faith and commitment to the good of others is our joy. Love is the answer – Nona taught us that! No matter what is going on in your life, you can always count on God who is Love! If you stay close to Him – you will become the person you are meant to be. Your many accomplishments and achievements make us proud, more importantly though, the person you ARE makes us most proud. Your kindness, empathy, humility and genuine love for others are your greatest gifts. Use these throughout college and you will find happiness and success.


May you know how genuinely grateful we are to God for giving us YOU 18 years ago. You bring joy to our lives and we are blessed to call you our daughter. Go now Emma and “blaze a trail” as St. Josemaria said. Blaze a trail for good, with love for God and others. We can’t wait to watch the amazing things you will do in this life.

Remember that Nona is always in your heart. Her love for you is as deep as the ocean. Count on her to be with your during college and beyond.

God bless you my girl,

Love – Mom and Dad


One thought on “Give up the Guilt – A Tribute to my Daughter

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  1. What a beautiful tribute. We are so blessed to know you all, your Mom/ Nonna is smiling down from heaven on your beautiful family. McKemma will be missed and we look forward to watching as your lifetime unfolds Emma!

    Liked by 1 person

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