Mother’s Day 2016 kicks off National Women’s Health Week, which goes from May 8th through May 14th. This is an excellent time to celebrate all of the women who have made a difference in our lives.
Although beautiful, Mother’s Day can be an emotional (and sometimes messy) day. Many of us have mothers, grandmothers and know countless other women who are fighting the battle against breast, ovarian or other cancers. And sadly, too many of us have lost family and friends to these same cancers.
That being said (and rightfully so), Mother’s Day is celebrated each year to show our appreciation and gratefulness for all “mothers.” For the ones who have given us life (an incredible feat) to the ones who have built us up so we can lead a happy, healthy and successful life–mothers deserve to be recognized.
This year, the FORCE XRAYS team wants to honor all mothers by sharing five stories of strong women and mothers who have impacted our lives, helping us to become who we are today. We hope you enjoy the lessons learned and the memories gained from the stories below.
1. Thanks, Mom, “It’s In Our Genes”
My Mom used to say – it’s in your genes – every time any of her daughters seemed to be picking up one of her habits, hobbies or loves. I know people always say – oh no- I’m my mother. We loved those connections. One of our silly ones was how many lists our mom made.
For absolutely everything you’d walk into every room of the house and she’d have a notepad with a list – what to do, buy, watch. There was nothing safe from being chronicled. And that’s the one that really stuck with me. Of course, today my lists are in One Note and on my phone (but I’ve still been known to drool over a new pack of post-its). Honestly – silly as it was – it’s such a great habit now with all the different projects I have going so thanks, Mom!
– Barbara Pfeiffer, Chief Executive Officer, FORCE
I learned many lessons from my mom but two of my favorites are to hold my children’s hands every chance I can get and to eat dessert first. These two simple actions always add so much happiness to my life. Miss you Mom!”
– Sandy Cohen, SVP Volunteer Programs, FORCE
3. More Than Just Cooking
When I was 13, my mother went to work full-time and I became responsible for cooking the family dinners. In true teenage form, I was angry and resentful about this at the time. Fast forward 35 years…cooking is a form of creativity and relaxation for me. I enjoy it immensely. Mom, thanks for “forcing” me to learn how to cook all those years ago!
– Lisa Schlager, VP Community Affairs & Public Policy, FORCE
4. The Most Creative Woman I Know
My mom is one of the most creative women I know. I owe my love of scrapbooking – and whatever other artistic ability I may have – to her. She was the mom who always helped make my school project extra special. She was the mom who decorated my room in bright and sunny yellow. She was the mom who carefully and beautifully crafted many of the clothes I wore as a little girl.
I will never forget the gingham butterfly top she made me (it had bat wings for arms; I thought I was so fashionable and silently wished that shirt would allow me to fly) or my very favorite piece of clothing of all time – the matching blue and pink flowered nightgown she made for me and Samantha Emmalina, my cabbage patch doll.
Thank you, mom – for the fabulous memories and the ability as an adult to mix and match! I love you.
– Karen Kramer, SVP Marketing, FORCE
5. Faith & Family First
There are many lessons my mom taught me throughout my life. Too many to mention, of course. From tying my shoes, studying hard, making no excuses for mistakes or procrastination, the proper way to burp my newborn, and helpful tips on balancing family and work; the most important lesson she taught me is that faith and family are the top priorities in life. Both are a constant source of strength, security and unconditional love.
It is through this mantra that my mother lived her life, and taught me about what’s truly important. She volunteered her time and talents for her church and community. “There is always someone else with a greater need than your own.” And it is through her example of unselfishly giving back that shaped me into the person I am today. My family and faith are my top priorities. We still gather as an extended family, of now more than 50, at each holiday to share a meal, catch up on family news and enjoy each other’s company.
My passion as a FORCE volunteer, staff member and advocate for the HBOC community has allowed me to touch the lives of many individuals who need information and support, but in return, they have inspired me by their strength. So while I’m not able to share Mother’s Day with my mom in person anymore, the lessons she taught me are still strong in my life and are being taught to my own children.
Thanks mom, for your great example in my life. Happy Mother’s Day!
– Diane Rose, Director of Volunteer Programs, FORCE
Thank you for reading the lessons, memories and personal stories which we cherish and hold dear. We ask that you spread the love this May and tell the women in your lives how much they mean to you. If this blog post resonated with you, we ask that you please share it with others too. Together we can continue to make sense of cancer headlines and make a positive influence in the lives of women. We thank you for your continued support and we promise to remain a reliable resource for young breast cancer survivors and high-risk women.