Carla is a grounding character throughout the story. Her position as Maddy’s nurse has allowed her to be intimately exposed to the relationship between Maddy and Maddy’s mother and she understands more than she communicates outwardly. Although Carla is cautious and professional, she is also rational and sensible. Carla’s feelings of perceived maternal failing toward her daughter prompt her to allow Maddy to push boundaries, especially as she realizes Maddy’s need to grow.
In Maddy’s interactions with Carla, Carla provides advice and guidance that act as Maddy’s compass. She is honest and direct, but never unkind. Carla sees herself in Maddy and encourages Maddy to follow her heart, not unlike Carla did as a younger woman. Her bond with Maddy gives her the misguided confidence that she has the right to guide Maddy as a mother might. She says what Maddy needs to hear, and often says what she knows that Maddy wants to hear, supporting Maddy in making bold decisions for herself.