May is a month filled with special days and holidays just like other months. However, for me, May is one of my favorite months. May celebrates National Teacher Day, Nurses Day and Mother’s Day. All three of those special days make me think of my Grandma and Mom. Both ladies were my first teachers and nurses. My Grandma who lived to be 92 had twelve children and a whopping total of 124 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. She instilled upon all of us the importance of service and giving back. She taught me to find my talent and utilize it to make a difference. One of my grandma’s many talents was crocheting. Since 1971, she crocheted 250 afghans annually for hospitalized veterans. I can’t imagine how much time and skeins of yarn she went through but I could always count on my Grandmother, at any family function, working on an afghan. Not surprisingly when she recently passed away, there was an afghan almost done waiting for a new home.
“Using your talents” was obviously important to my mom since Grandma wouldn’t have had it any other way, but for my mom, who was also a nurse by profession; her biggest lesson taught to my brother and I was the importance of saying “thank you.” Growing up I knew that when I received a gift I had about three days to write a thank you note before she would start to hound me to get working on this. It used to drive me crazy but my mom would remind me that when someone cared enough to give me a gift; the least I could do was be kind and acknowledge that their thoughtfulness was appreciated. She reminded me of this very fact when she was in hospice and gave me a lecture on not waiting long after she had passed to write thank you notes. Of course, I thought to myself, “Really mom you are dying and you are worried about me writing stupid thank you notes?!” but that was her way of reminding me not to forget what she had taught me.
So now it is my turn! I am a mom which means that I have the opportunity to be a teacher and nurse (I do have a license to actually perform those duties) to my two beautiful teenage children. I use my talents of time, voice, energy, and passion surrounding the health and well-being of children by serving on the ASHA Board of Directors, Leadership and Recognition committee, Governance committee, and assisting with the Future Leaders Academy. Saying thank you is something I do every day. I thank my staff for their hard work, I thank my children for doing their homework, I thank my children’s teachers, coaches, pastors, and other individuals who help my children grow to be responsible and caring young adults. In addition, I thank the other individuals who make up the ASHA Board of Directors because together we can continue to move this association forward to make a positive impact on the future of the children we work beside. I think my Grandma and Mom would be proud!
So I challenge each of you this month to take a few moments from your busy schedule and reflect on the individuals who have made a positive impact on your life and send them a thank you. Also, don’t forget to thank your Mom, Grandma or other women in your life who are “mom-like.”