Mother’s Day offers us the opportunity to celebrate the invaluable care and nurturing that mothers provide, recognizing that love and guidance show up in many different forms. The work we do at JCCA makes us especially appreciative of the many expressions of affection and belonging between people, including foster parents, guardians, adoptive parents, and mother figures of all genders and gender expressions.

It’s a fitting coincidence that Mother’s Day falls during both Foster Care Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. For many of us, Mother’s Day triggers complicated feelings. Not every memory of family is happy. We understand the pain of loss and estrangement from parents and caregivers, and we extend empathy to those who might feel upset today. We take comfort knowing that healing and connection come not only from the families present at our birth but those we form along the way.

This year, Mother’s Day comes at a time of rising mental health strain among young people that has been widely reported. When we honor the vital role of mothers and mother figures, we cannot limit our thanks to a greeting card message—we must also show our appreciation with economic, health, and public policies that support, instead of threaten, the stability and well-being of the most vulnerable in our communities, in our society.

At JCCA our daily work is oriented to the care and support of children and families. We are able to advance our mission when we also care for, appreciate, and support each other. Despite the complicated feelings it generates, Mother’s Day reminds us to be appreciative and to let those around us who love us know that we love them.