Natalie Starkey can still remember the first time she saw her daughter, Hayley Sutton. “The first time I saw her, I felt such love and peace,” Natalie says. “I have so many other favorite memories like the day she was 19 and told me she appreciated everything I did in her teens to make her feel special. But the most amazing moment was watching her become a mom. She looked at me with huge tears and said, ‘Mom, I never knew I could love someone so much.’ And I said I know, ‘That’s how I feel about you.’”
Natalie, a nurse recruiter for Christus, says that Hayley was the perfect baby. She was happy and easy. “Then, she was painfully shy between ages 3-7. As a teen she was a tad sassy, but she was still a really good child. She was never rebellious or did anything crazy. I appreciated that,” Natalie says. “She really gained confidence in her teens. She once stood up to a very large boy in the lunchroom for picking on another male student. She was about 100 pounds.”
As an adult, Hayley continues to make Natalie proud. “Hayley is a hard worker and an amazing mother and wife. As a parent, all we can hope for is to raise your baby in a way that they don’t need you anymore. She is currently two weeks post baby number two, doing online classes for her master’s in nursing, and has an amazing job in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) at Christus,” Natalie says. “She is fiercely independent and has become an amazing calm center in our family. She loves hard and forgives easily. She is also a ton of fun on a road trip! She knows all the 1980’s music I love. Nothing better than watching her go hard on ‘Gangster’s Paradise’!”
Growing up, Hayley always knew that her mom was in her corner, but Hayley says that Natalie was quick to tell her if she was wrong. “She wanted to be there for me, but also wanted to make sure I grew up respectful and kind,” Hayley says. “She made sure I appreciated everything given to me and didn’t take anything for granted.”
One of Hayley’s favorite memories of Natalie is the moment she met her grandbabies for the first time. “The way she looks at them is something I can’t explain. My boys are blessed with the best Nay Nay,” Natalie says. “She’s shown me how to be a loving mother and wife. I pray my boys look at me the way I look at my mom. I hope they are as proud of me as I am of her. She constantly lifts me up and is my biggest cheerleader in every way.”
Now that Hayley is a mother, it has made it even easier for Hayley and Natalie to relate to each other in the shared bond of motherhood. Hayley is excited to see Natalie starting cherished holiday traditions with her grandkids, and Natalie cannot wait to see her daughter enjoy every milestone of her boys’ lives. “Thinking about it makes me tear up. I can’t wait to see her watching every big event in their lives and knowing how much she will truly live in each moment,” Natalie says. “My favorite thing about Hayley is the mother she has become. She is way more organized and structured with both of her boys than I was raising her. She also knows how to sit and enjoy a moment. I love how she makes others feel.”
Natalie and Hayley respect and love each other, and they both have tips for how to make a mother and daughter relationship stronger. Hayley says that honesty is always best. “My mom has always made herself my safe place and I have been able to go to her for absolutely everything. She is always quick to listen,” Hayley says. “Good communication makes for a great relationship.”
Natalie’s advice is to enjoy every moment, every milestone, every day. “Stop worrying if they are wearing the latest fashion or if they get to go on extravagant trips,” Natalie says. “They will remember playing with you outside with one silly toy. They remember time spent, not dollars.”
Questions for Mom, Natalie Starkey
1. How did you choose your daughter’s name?
I liked Hayley Mills in the Parent Trap and thought her name was pretty. I also used her spelling. Her middle name is Jo, named after my grandmother, my role model in life.
2. What makes you proud of your daughter?
She has the most beautiful heart. She puts others before herself.
3. What is one thing that you see in your daughter that you wish she could see in herself?
I wish she could see how amazing of a mom she is. She is this force of nature that goes the extra mile in everything she does. Her boys are truly blessed.
Questions for Daughter, Hayley Sutton
1. What is your favorite thing about your mother?
She is real 100% of the time. You will get the same version of her no matter who you are.
2. What makes you proud of your mother?
Her work ethic and how much she loves her family. She goes above and beyond for everyone she knows. There’s never a time she doesn’t give her all into what she’s doing. .
3. What is one thing that you see in your mother that you wish she could see in herself?
How much joy she brings to the lives of people she knows. She is the life of the party always and strives to make people smile.