But these fact-versus-fiction arguments are as much a tribute to her intelligence as they are to her willingness to set aside discomfort. She’s the only person I know in real life who reads literally hundreds of books a year. I think the harder conversations (ones she’ll still have just as readily) are those grounded in emotion. Not too long ago, she sat down with a neighbourhood friend to talk about how one of their kids was bullying. Veronica had alerted Sarah to a situation between two school friends, and within a day, Sarah was sitting down with the mom to talk about it. I would have agonized over it and put it off forever; Sarah agonized over it and did it the very next day. She’s also unafraid to wade into issues of long-standing family dysfunction. If one partner in a relationship is leaving the other to do all the heavy lifting; if man-boys are taking advantage of their overly accommodating parents; if elderly siblings have ridiculous late-in-life feuds – Sarah will be the one who says something when no one else does. She doesn’t do this just to be confrontational (and that’s not even how I would describe her approach,) she does it because she knows that we’re capable of being more than we are. She’ll never accept someone (her husband included) saying, “That’s just the way I am.” She knows that everyone can be better.
I feel like our kids will know themselves very well because of her. There are things I've learned about myself later in life (thanks to Sarah) that I wish I'd known when I was young. Our kids will be so much better equipped. I hope they'll know and love themselves, but still challenge themselves to grow. Sarah always asks them, "When am I proudest of you? When you try hard and when you're loving." It's how she feels about us all, really.