Tag Archives: Barbara Sibley

A Daddy’s Girl Reflection a Bit Before Father’s Day

It’s 6:02 am. I’ve been up for a bit as I am most mornings by this time. And, as I thought about what to write on the blog today, I searched the computer for images that might inspire me. Well I ran across this picture of my father and my daughter about 2 months before he passed away in 2003. And, it was the perfect inspiration for me today.

This picture is from a photo shoot that I arranged for my family (my parents, my grandmother who was in town visiting, my sisters, our spouses and the grands). I knew when making these arrangements that we were losing my father to his battle with colon cancer and we didn’t have much time. So, I thought this would be the perfect way to capture memories of us as a family surrounding him with love and laughter, the only way we know how to do it.

Well seven years later these images continue to be the gift that keeps on giving for me. I see the above picture of my now tween making a silly face with Daddy looking down and I know that the picture not only captures him and her. But, it also represents me and him, since I was about the same age when he and my mother became a couple. My father was “THE MAN” that brought strength, safety and love to my mother after her escape from an abusive relationship. And, by bringing these gifts to my mother, he brought them to me and the rest of our family. He continued to gift us with these characteristics as my parents added to our family with the birth of my little sister and as my mother continued her role as mother hen to her younger siblings that she raised.

The beginning to our blended family began over 30 years ago. And, the additions have continued since his passing – there are two more grandchildren and a great grandchild in the fruitful multiplication of our family.  My younger sister has a daughter and has gotten married. And, his girls all onto the great things his covering has allowed us to pursue.

I know I am a couple of weeks early to be celebrating Father’s Day. But, when I see these images, I celebrate my father’s life and his memory as often as I can. His work as a husband, father, son, uncle, role model, hardworking man, brother, godfather, and cuss like a sailor protector continues to bless our family. And, as he said during his and my mother’s 25th anniversary vow renewal in 2003, the year he passed,  “he’s continues to take care of his girls.”

And for that, I say thank you Daddy!

I Owe It All To You Ma!

by Rochelle Valsaint

I think my Facebook profile description does a really good job of summing up who I am.

Visionary. All American Woman. Wife.

Mommi. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend.

This Woman’s Work is never done!

And, I can say that my calendar and to-do list fully reflect all of these roles. I could also add to that description that with this full life, there is never a dull moment. And, that’s certainly been the case this Spring with juggling my leadership role as the Black Alumni of Notre Dame Chairwoman and the growth of TWS Marketing Communications and Media.

But, as I reflect this week, I think less about what I’m able to cram into my life and more and more about the blessings I have been able to enjoy in my life because of one of my greatest role models, Barbara, my mother.

To know who I am really is to know the amazing life story that she had as a foster child, turned guardian to 4 younger siblings at twenty-one years of age at the same time she began her journey in motherhood with her own young child (my older sister, Staci). She’s one of thirteen, and the backbone of our very matriarchal family. She was subjected to an abusive relationship before finding the love of her life, my Daddy, Johnny. And, once on the other side some very traumatic circumstances, she managed to put all the hurt of her past behind her and create the most, loving and wonderful environment for myself and my sisters.

She not only went on to create a great life for us, she is the one that showed me what entrepreneurship looked like. She launched a business, Barbara’s Hair Care and Nails in our home town of New Orleans, that would start as a contribution to my father’s income as a truck driver and eventually top his salary and sometimes be the breadwinner of the household. She helped take our family from a working class family in New Orleans to a middle class family. But, she never let her ego dominate or cause problems in the beautiful relationship she had with my father. And, while doing her work as a wife, mother, friend and oh so many other roles, she always made sure our door was open to all those she loved. That door open policy was the foundation of the Thursday-Sunday gatherings at our home most weekends, always a meal, libations, a place for the kids to play, somewhere to get your dance, laugh and eat on. She has become a big sister and mother figure to many.

Things have slowed down for her a bit since my father passed in 2003. But, the family that’s here in Atlanta as well as those that come in town to visit, all still know that Barbara’s house is where you go to get fed. And, I’m not just talking food. My mother feeds your mind, body and spirit in one visit. You leave full and satisfied. And, you look forward to the next visit.

So if anyone was wondering where I am on weekends, most of the time you’ll find me at her address, after I’ve finished my week of to-do’s and meetings, getting fed. At the same time, I am taking notes to make sure that I have what it takes to continue the tradition she has started by living her life so boldly and generously. I always say if I can be half the woman my mother is, I might actually be doing something!

Love you Ma!