“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother’s love is not.” ~ James Joyce
Last week during the lockdown at the girls’ schools I would have done anything to take their place. To take away any fear that they had. I wanted so badly for me to be in that position so that they didn’t have to experience any hurt or pain.
You never truly know the meaning selflessness until you become a parent. It was when I held Harlan in my arms for the first time that I realized I’d do anything in the world to protect her. Now I’ve got three little ones that I’d do the same for. It’s what mothers do.
Last Monday I spent the day at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. If you remember, a couple of months ago I visited the one in Long Island and that day is still a vivid memory in my mind.
The Ronald McDonald House is a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill or injured children. It helps parents so that they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. While I knew that the Roncald McDonald House was doing wonderful work for families, it wasn’t until I spent the day in Philadelphia with these families that I realized how much of a community this place is.
Earlier this year Pampers gave me a Better for Baby Grant. They told me I could do anything with the money, whatever my heart desired. Because my time spent at the RMH in Long Island, I knew I wanted to do more with them. After speaking with my friend Julia Beck, of FortyWeeks (who helped organize the RMH LI event,) she knew the Philadelphia RMH would be perfect because not only do they help families of seriously ill and injured children, but it’s also a house with mothers who have high-risk pregnancies.
After speaking with the house, we came up with the idea that we would “pamper” the mothers who are staying with their children in the house. Many moms are devoting 100% of their time to their children, either in the hospital or taking care of them in the house. I know that as a mom of three, I get very little time to myself, but I can’t imagine what these mothers are going through.
With the help of my friends at Skip Hop, who donated these amazing and stylish bags, Belabumbum, who donated the softest and most comfortable loungewear (I wear their pajamas every night,) and the very talented make-up artists from Trish McEvoy, who donated their time, we were able to give these moms an afternoon to remember.
Moms were treated to Trish McEvoy makeovers while sipping on drinks and eating snacks. When we came up with this idea, the wonderful people at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House told us that while they knew the mothers would love it, they couldn’t guarantee how many women would show up. Not because they didn’t want to, but because most of these mothers spend their days at the hospital with their children. We had over 20 mothers show up on Monday. Many told us that they made sure to schedule a few minutes from their hectic schedule so that they could take time for themselves. And that’s exactly what my goal was for the day.
One of the most amazing parts of my day, and the one that was the most life changing for me, was the conversations I had with these mothers. They shared their stories with me, ones that are not mine to tell, but I can share is that these mothers are inspiring. The strength that they have with them every single day is something that I aspire to have. They show courage, so that their children can do the same.
I had mothers coming to me at the end telling me that they haven’t smiled like they did in those few short hours, in a long time. Ones that said that they needed this little break more than we would ever know. And some that even told me that they were more grateful for this afternoon than we’d ever know.
But what these moms don’t know is how grateful I was to be able to do this for them. To be able to spend this afternoon with them learning about their story. To be able to give them just a little bit of pampering so that they can have an extra boost to go back to the hospital and spend time with their children. And most of all, I’m grateful that they shared their lives with me. They helped change my life forever.
Thank you to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House for letting us into this community you have created for these families. And a huge thank you to Trish McEvoy, Belabumbum, Skip Hop, and Pampers for helping me put a smile on these women’s faces. I am forever grateful.
And I’d also like to ask if you could please say a prayer for these families tonight. They could use all of it.
A huge thanks to Susan Nam, of Susan Nam Photography for capturing these special moments from the afternoon.