The Wind Beneath her Wings

MeDaveBriana

You could say my daughter had an idyllic childhood. Right up until she turned 10, when her life as she knew it exploded.

That was the year her dad and I divorced. Suddenly she was thrown into a world of splitting time between two parents; watching her parents date, with sometimes disastrous results. She even had to become mini mom to her little brother if I was at work at night: helping with homework, helping with dinner. She had to grow up fast. But in some ways, it was almost as if she were born prepared for it.

She was born in 1996 to two young parents who were in love and in awe of our sweet, little Briana. She was as near perfect as we could expect. She slept through the night. She was easy to travel with so we took her everywhere. She hit every growth milestone just as the baby books said we should expect.  In some cases, she even surpassed them. She was talking before she was one. She started walking on her first birthday. At two she was reciting the names of world leaders better than some of the TV anchors I worked with. She started kindergarten when she was 4 because she could already read and write. If you looked up the meaning of being “an old soul,” her picture would almost have to be next to it. I’m convinced she’s been on this earth before.  Nothing seemed difficult for her or about her. So watching her graduate Summa Cum Laude  from high school last week or receiving her letter of acceptance to the University of Southern California last month might seem “a given” to those who’ve grown used to seeing her succeed. But those of us who’ve been by her side the last seven months know these recent accomplishments came from a deep strength that perhaps even she didn’t know she had.

DaveBriUSCGame

When Dave and I started touring colleges with her two years ago, we hoped she would fall in love with USC, just as we did when we attended there and fell in love with each other. She kept us guessing until midway through our tour when she said to us with enthusiasm, “This is where I want to be. I really want to go to school here.” We were overjoyed but knew it would take more hard work, as USC is highly competitive and being a legacy does not guarantee admission.

BrigradHSShe was in the middle of her college application process when her dad became ill and was hospitalized. When his condition worsened, I don’t think anyone would’ve blamed her for falling behind in school or with her application process. But she knew that’s not what her dad would’ve wanted. While some might have criticized her for not being at his hospital bedside 24/7, she knew he would’ve been disappointed if she would’ve gotten off course.  He was unabashedly proud of her and was overjoyed just thinking about her possibly attending USC one day. So each day for two weeks, she’d fight through the tears enough to go to school, pick up her brother from school in the afternoon and spend evenings at the hospital. If she wasn’t in her dad’s room, she was in the waiting room doing homework, finishing up her college essays and trying to stay on track. It’s what he would’ve wanted from her and she knew that. Two days before he passed, as his condition worsened, she was scheduled to have her USC interview. We had been up late the night before dealing with what we knew might be the inevitable. She briefly considered cancelling her interview, but once again reminded herself that her dad would want her to stay steadfast.  Through her darkest days yet, she remained focused, as much for her dad as for herself. Through his death, his memorial service, her tremendous grief, she somehow found the strength to not give up. In those days, she was no longer just my daughter. She became my hero.

So as I watched her collect her high school diploma last weekend, I cheered for her dad too. I knew it was the culmination of more than just hard work in the classroom. Watching her throw her cap into the air was also a symbol of the tremendous courage and perseverance it took for her to fight through insurmountable heartache. No one could be more proud of their child than me and that angel in heaven she calls dad. I have no doubt she will continue to soar in life because she will do so with him, forever the wind beneath her wings.

31 Comments

  • Ana 4 years ago

    Catherine,

    My husband and I were wondering where you went. I googled your name and found your blog. I cried after reading your blog. I lost my Dad years ago and I still miss him a lot. Wish you and your kids a happy life.

    Ana

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you Ana, that means so much to me. All the best to you and yours! Thank you for reading :)

  • Georgiann Serpe 4 years ago

    Truth be told, Catherine, I don’t watch the news…haven’t in years, but I was at the Super Women luncheon that you zipped into after a marathon. You attended in your running gear, hat on, no make-up, no ego; nothing but your passion for the wonderful organization you are a part of. I was impressed by your demeanor, words, modesty and heart. It is easy to see where your daughter gets it from, and it sounds like her dad was just as amazing, may he rest in peace. All the best to you and your family!

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you Georgiann! That really makes my heart smile. I would be in a hat, exercise gear and no make up EVERY DAY if I could get away with it :) I hope you enjoyed the SOSW luncheon and that you’ll join us again soon! (http://www.sisterhoodofsuperwomen.com) Thank you for the well wishes – lots of changes but we are strong and we have each other and now – I’m making the most of time:) All the best to you as well!

  • Tonja Adreon 4 years ago

    Catherine you and your daughter are an inspiration to all. Like mother, like daughter, or…..it could be the other way around. You are missed on the TV, but wow, I can see why part of your decision was from a very courageous and strong young lady. I’m waiting to follow you on your journey. Tonja

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you Tonja! I’m pretty confident the best is yet to come :) All the best!! Catherine

  • Charlotte 4 years ago

    Thank you. When we moved to Arizona in 2003, you had the most pleasant, sweet voice. You are a smart lady. The choice you have made is a wonderful choice. Some kids do not understand what it takes to leave a position your fond of to take care of family. God bless you, your daughter and son. Have a good life and again, thank you. You will be greatly missed.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you so much Charlotte! I could not have had such an incredible career without the support and loyalty of viewers like you. I’ve already noticed an amazing change with my children – more reinforcement that the best is yet to come :) xo Catherine

  • Joy Calhoon 4 years ago

    Hi Catherine,
    Just wanted to drop a note to say I will really miss you on TV. But I will never believe you are retirement age. Do you think you will work again? Just wondering!
    Joy

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Hi Joy! Thank you for the kind words :) yes, I will work I’ve started my own media business so that I can be flexible for my family. Family first – always! All the best to you! Catherine

  • debbie campbell 4 years ago

    I’ve been watching you since you were doing the midday show in LA. When I moved to Phoenix in 2007 I immediately chose cbs for our local news because you were one of the anchors.

    Your professionalism and journalistic integrity will be missed, it’s not something you see everyday anymore.

    Best of luck on your new endeavors.

  • Kathleen Hall 4 years ago

    I am following your blog as I followed your career, from reporter to news anchor and so much more, of a major network affiliate. You contributed so very much, Catherine, to the community as well and the guiding hand you showed you daughter and in turn your son.
    What an amazing young woman and success will surely follow her, no matter what turn in life she takes. How extremely proud you must be of her accomplishments! Sit back and cheer!

  • Jose Gonzales 4 years ago

    I have watched you for years and have always appreciated your honesty. I can now understand how your daughter has become such a wonderful young lady! My best to your family.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you so much Jose! I have watched her blossom into an amazing young lady, one who makes me proud not simply because she’s my daughter but because she is an exceptional human being. I know with my presence at home, my son is going to grow into a fine young man and I’m so looking forward to making up for the time I’ve missed. thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you’ll continue to follow my journey! xo Catherine

  • Nancy Lesko 4 years ago

    Catherine, although I have watched you on 5 for years, I was shocked that someone new was in your place at the news desk just now…I missed whatever announcement was made….Noooooooo. since your lovely daughter will be going off to college, why did you leave? Are you moving to CA?

  • John Chiazza 4 years ago

    Watching you in LA years ago and then here for so many wonderful years, I have always admired you more than any other Anchor I have ever watched. Your precise and dedicated delivery of every news item can not be matched. I further now admire you for the true family decision you have made. I want to wish you and your family the best in all that you do. You will be missed because they do not make News Anchors like you. Plus a great education from the best College on the planet USC.
    Always a big USC fan and now you have your daughter going there..
    FIGHT ON CATHERINE!!. We all Love you !!

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you, John! I’ve had an amazing journey and I am always humbled when someone remembers me long after I’ve been in the market. Thank you for following my career and for supporting me. I’m looking forward to this next chapter and being back on the USC campus… a lot :) #FightOn

  • Leslie Hicks 4 years ago

    What an amazing mom and lady you are, Catherine! May God continue to richly bless you and your beautiful family!

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you Leslie, that means the world to me. I’m very blessed and looking forward to being more present for the people who mean more to me than anything. Thank you for supporting through the years and for taking the time to read. I appreciate it!

  • Dianne Hill 4 years ago

    What a lucky girl to have such wonderful parents to instill and guide her to where she is today. Give yourself. A pat on the back too, and may God be with her now as she starts the next chapter of her life

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you Dianne! She has certainly made it easy to parent her and is stronger than I could’ve ever imagined myself at her age. She really does inspire me! Thank you for taking the time to read :)

  • Frankie Mae Richards 4 years ago

    that was beautiful

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you, Frankie!

  • Rhonda 4 years ago

    Your daughter will inspire people like her Mommy inspires people. I don’t even know your or your daughter, but I am proud of her and hope only the best in years ahead. May God be with all.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you, Rhonda! That means the world to me and my family! Thank you for taking the time to read :)

  • Al " Buddy"DePascal 4 years ago

    Catherine you couldn’t have said it any better. She is a Hell of a Big Girl Now. Everything is for a Reason. She’s strong, wise, smarter than most and she has You. And That Is Everything……Now. Always be there For Her and Your Son……IT’S YOUR TIME NOW……..TO BE THERE ALWAYS FOR THEM……AND IN THE END THAT’S ALL THAT MATTER.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Amen to that Al! :)

  • lawrence kilbane 4 years ago

    You certainly have a reason to be a proud Mom. Your daughter can be a model to other girls in the same situation.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      Thank you so much!

  • Barbara 4 years ago

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing young lady. It is no wonder you are so proud of her.

    • Catherine Anaya 4 years ago

      She makes it easy :) Thank you for taking the time to read!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.