Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.
Early May is the season of appreciation. It’s when we dedicate a week to honor teachers and all that they do to educate our children. We take another week to reflect on nurses and the services they provide to keep us healthy. And, of course, we take a day – today, in fact – to celebrate motherhood and the moms who run not just their families but the world.
Teacher Appreciation Week, National Nurses Week, and Mother’s Day all share something in common: They recognize caregivers in our families and in our community, the people who take time from their lives to help others. These occasions also serve as a reminder for all of us to show our appreciation – something we should be doing all 365 days of the year!
Think back on the last two years. Nurses were at the forefront of the pandemic, risking their own lives to protect others from the insidious virus. Teachers ripped up their in-person lesson plans and taught virtually with very little notice. And then there are the moms who kept their families safe, entertained, fed, and connected to the internet while maintaining their own jobs and careers.
Now more than ever, it’s time for everyone to use your power to show gratitude for everything nurses, teachers, and moms have done for you and for the community over the past two years. Pick up the phone, send an email or text, or even visit in person. No matter what you do, you have the power to make someone’s day.
Share your appreciation for mothers, teachers, and nurses. It matters more than you may realize.
Jim shares this story about how he reconnected with one of his most impactful teachers:
Years ago, when I was a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I had a professor named Dr. Blanche Cook who had a profound impact on me. Professor Cook was provocative, challenged the students in our class, and the class time flew by because we were so engaged.
I waited many, many years after my graduation to tell Dr. Cook how I felt. Then, in 1998, I was attending a conference in Colorado and one of the people at my table asked others if they had a teacher who they remembered fondly. When it was my turn, I shared the impact Blanche had on me. The lady who asked the original question turned to me and said, “Are you by any chance referring to Blanche Cook?” She was one of Blanche’s best friends.
The lady then asked if I ever expressed to Blanche the impact she had on me. I realized I actually had not. This experience caused me to reach out and express my appreciation. I am pleased to tell you that for 20+ years now we’ve stayed in touch and we’re good friends.
Don’t make the mistake I did! Let the teachers in your life know the impact they have had on you. You will make their day.
We would love to hear your stories about the inspiring moms or maternal figures, teachers, and nurses in your life. Share your stories here.
Celebrating our nurses
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring the comfort, well-being, and positive health outcomes of their patients. Just recently, Jim was reminded of how nurses make a difference when he had his annual medical appointments.
I was admittedly slightly anxious before one of my routine procedures at NYU Langone on Long Island. Marie and Collette, two of the nurses, helped to put my mind at ease by creating a comfortable and caring atmosphere. In another appointment, another nurse, Tanetta, took my blood pressure, and it was a little high. Apparently, I have white coat syndrome! However, due to the positive and light-hearted atmosphere that Nurse Tanetta created, within 10 to 15 minutes my blood pressure had returned to normal.
Celebrating all maternal figures on Mother’s Day
Moms aren’t limited to the people who gave birth to you. We’ve all had teachers, mentors, aunts, neighbors, and others who have played a critical role in our development. Take today to make sure you thank them and share just how much they mean to you.
Here are some stories of different types of maternal figures shared by our community
Tenuous trials of a stepmom
In real life, being a mom is hard work, and being a stepmom, widow, or foster mom can add extra layers of challenges. Consider the story of our community member Judy, whose husband died suddenly and left her with three pre-teens.
She and her children struggled for years before she met Randy, who was divorced from his estranged wife and had two pre-teens of his own. When they decided to get married, there was quite a bit of dissension among the kids who were reluctant to accept each other. Judy yearned for the “Brady Bunch,” but it was not meant to be.
Judy realized her situation was nothing like “The Brady Bunch,” She trod carefully for the first few years, and patiently worked with each of the five kids to overcome their skepticism about each other. Once the last one went to college, Judy realized that all five had become extraordinarily close, and now they always spend holidays together as a family. Judy always feels like she was rewarded for her patience.
The solitary fight of a widowed mom
Shirley, like Judy, became a widow at a young age with three children; however, unlike Judy, Shirley decided that she was going to raise the children on her own. It was a huge struggle. Her husband’s death left a giant hole in the family.
The kids each had their own issues, which Shirley had to navigate alone. She was fiercely determined and unafraid. Today, her children are in awe of how she navigated all those treacherous situations, all by herself. Regardless of where they are in the world, the kids always go to Shirley’s home for Mother’s Day and make sure they take time out to celebrate their Mom.
An empty-nester mom fosters with a surprise
Motherhood for Marcie became lonely when she and her husband sent the last of their four kids to college. They were in their 50s and wanted to give back. They decided to become foster parents. It was a great way to help children in need.
One day, six-year-old Isaac showed up on their doorstep, and Marcie and her husband realized he was special. All their children were a bit introverted and over-achievers in the classroom. Isaac was a ball of fire. They found out that his mother had disappeared, and so Isaac was alone in the world. They decided to adopt him, and that started the years of what they call “The Isaac Whirlwind.” Marcie, whose kids didn’t play sports, was suddenly thrust into the role of a soccer, football, and baseball mom.
By age 13, Isaac towered over everyone in the family. “I never thought in my 50s that I would become a mom to this special boy who was completely different from all I had experienced before,” she says with pride and happiness.
To be sure, there are countless super moms, each with extraordinary powers. They come in so many forms, so it’s important to celebrate each one. Make sure you take today to let all the women in your life who have supported you know just how much they mean to you.
If you’re a mom or someone who plays a maternal role, we hope that today brings you all the love, respect, and appreciation you deserve.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Chris & Jim