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Dear Readers,

As my daughter begins her first day of being seven years old, I am humbled to devote the rest of this week’s posts to someone who changed my life forever.

Since I began this blog 10 months ago, I have written about parenting, early education, Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome, Civil Rights, miracles, angels among us, advocacy, tennis, marathon training, self-care, and even second chances.

Therese neuSometimes these themes have been explored in poems. Theresa Rosen was poetry in motion. She is an angel who guides me every day.

I met Theresa on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when our daughter was still a baby, just 15 months old. I spoke to her three times on that ship and once after we had settled in Iowa before moving to Hawaii. All together, our conversations totaled about one hour. I sent her cards until four years ago I learned she died of pancreatic cancer.

For all the brevity of our friendship, Theresa has influenced how I approach parenting, education, people, and the world. She has given me confidence in my parenting and in my belief that if Ellen wants to, she will someday receive a college degree and enter adulthood as an accomplished, strong, independent woman.

Theresa was one of many people who inspired this blog and my tenacity in keeping it going for one full year. I know instinctively Theresa would have wanted me to. I believe she will celebrate with me when I complete the year just as I know how proud she is of my daughter and how much she protects her.

I look forward to letting all of you know in the next few days the circumstances that led to my meeting Theresa.