Happy Mother’s Day!
This Mother’s Day, like every day, there are reminders of our mothers and “mother figures” in ways we can’t always anticipate. Something happens or something is said and we think of her. Celebrating this important role makes sense and certainly feels right, Hallmark aside.
But as an agency serving families struggling with abuse and neglect, where many of our young clients are separated from their mothers, today offers an opportunity to reflect on how commemorating mothers in what’s become a commercial holiday may feel for those kids. Most of us were not separated from our mothers as children. Some of us have lost our mothers and know the grief that accompanies such loss. But JCCA’s kids in care struggle with complicated feelings, unique to each young person, when it comes to their maternal connection—or lack thereof. We should also consider what this day represents for mothers living without their children as a result of child protective involvement—a jumble of feelings that can amount to profound sadness.
Mother’s Day reminds us that we are all born deserving to be loved. Nature dictated that in the first instance, this love—this unconditional expression of protection, trust, safety, and care—comes from our biological mother. Many of our clients have had that critical connection dramatically interrupted. That is where we come in. Whether on the campus through our Mother’s Day without a Mother celebration or in the loving way we and our committed foster parents attend to our clients’ fundamental needs each day, JCCA steps in and offers surrogate love.
My hope for the mothers, mother figures, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, etc. who work at JCCA is that they have some time to appreciate how important they are to the younger people whose lives they are changing, both at home and at work.
There is no more important work than what all of you do for our fragile and remarkably resilient children and young people.
For all of the mothers who sang you lullabies and for all the lullabies you have sung, thank you.
Ronald E. Richter, CEO