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Bargell: A Time to Remember

by Cindy Bargell

On Saturday as we got ready to head out to the amphitheater, our oldest was putting together a babysitting box. An arsenal of crayons and markers to make sure she is equipped with all the necessary supplies to keep kids busy for hours – or well, for at least 15 minutes. As she gathered everything from Band-Aids to bed-time stories, I wondered how it could be she had so quickly transformed from one who needed to be watched into a full fledged babysitter.

Of course, no less than 11 years of growing up had officially gone into the effort. Toss in her Red Cross babysitting certification, and the occasions she had dutifully followed her younger cousins around the house, the reality is she’s probably more qualified than I was when I decided to become a parent. Her preparations, however, took me back in time, and on this beautiful morning it was indeed a good time to remember.

It seems like just yesterday she was the pipsqueak who couldn’t wait for that occasional Friday night when Mom and Dad would find some excuse to go out, and to call in the reinforcements. Much to the delight of our “little” girls, we sometimes could talk a sister duo into coming over to share the evening, a pizza and a movie. For the little ones, nothing beat those times when the big girls, Elizabeth and Molly, would come calling. So, when we heard the news last week, the little hearts in our household were broken, like so many throughout our community.

At the celebration of Lizzie’s life, the hundreds of folks gathered were challenged to consider how this amazing young woman could have impacted such a diverse group of people. Looking around the crowded amphitheater it was evident Lizzie had managed in her short lifetime to touch more lives than many of us ever will.

Extraordinary, wacky, fun, happy – words heard over and over at Lizzie’s celebration of life. Her influence extended beyond her peers. Just a few weeks ago, she was back at her elementary school enthusiastically sharing with the younger kids an opportunity to help out others. “Pennies for Patients” had captured her imagination, and along with a friend, they challenged the DVE students to help ailing children and families in need. She also had just spent a few days as a counselor at “High Trails” – a local fourth grade rite of passage, taking time out of her busy high school schedule to encourage and mentor young girls on the importance of making friends, and finding their own way.

Taking time out for people was one of Lizzie’s fortes. Even as a much-revered “high-schooler,” she never lost her ability to connect with the younger kids. Always ready to offer her radiant smile and a warm hello when their paths crossed at the rec center, she had an uncanny gift of making the girls feel special. Maybe it was because she never let being cool get in the way of being kind. Or, as was aptly put at the celebration: She never really cared what people thought about her, instead, she simply cared about people.

One morning a few years ago, after the Murphy girls had watched the kids the previous evening, I noticed a small bag on my daughter’s dresser, filled with colorful beads, ponytail holders and an assortment of princess-like accessories, right down to a small pink tiara. Knowing I had not recently purchased such a perfect collection of princess booty, I asked where the treasures came from. The girls excitedly explained that Elizabeth and Molly had brought the bags as a gift to share the previous evening. Wow, I thought, how many other babysitters would come bearing gifts for their charges?

The girls stashed the bags in their bathrooms, and refused to part with either the bags or the contents, even when they had outgrown the beads, and rarely had an occasion to don a tiara.

So, I had to smile when I inspected the contents of my daughter’s babysitting box and noticed the pink tiara sitting right on the top. I picked it up and turned it over in my hands, tears unexpectedly welling up in my eyes. “Remember Mommy, Elizabeth gave that to me.” I nodded. She went on, “I think she’d want me to give it to another little girl now, don’t you?” “Absolutely,” I replied. And, I turned away recognizing that we had indeed been touched by a true princess, loved by many, and living on in more ways than can be imagined.

Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She is a card-carrying PTSA member, real estate and natural resources lawyer and part-time gymnastics coach. She welcomes your comments at cindy@visanibargell.com.


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