Cheering for Mommy, Cheering for our Hero

The last two months have been absolutely saturated by doom and gloom in the news, and really a total upending of the routines that form the foundation of our daily lives. I know that I personally have felt sometimes like I’ve totally lost my footing. But my hope is anchored in two things that have thankfully eluded politicization or polarization: the heroism of our essential workers and the strength of a mother’s love.

As if mothers didn’t have enough on their plate, they’re now tasked with guiding us through this global crisis. This Mother’s Day, which is a first for so many reasons, is our chance to celebrate the mothers in our lives for all they do.

For Vivvi, this is our first Mother’s day. And what a year it’s been as we’ve gotten to witness all of our young ones grow from infants full of wonder (and in some cases before they were born) to children full of questions about that wonder. Through everything the world could throw at these families -- sudden illnesses, births, job changes and moves across the country before the pandemic -- I’ve had a front row view of our mothers guiding their families every step of the way. Since it’s hit, that resolve has only strengthened. On behalf of all of our teachers, children and staff - thank you. We are proud of you and grateful for all you do. At the same time, one of the things I’m proudest of is how many mothers we have on our team (corporate, teachers and investors). We started Vivvi to celebrate and serve families as a whole, and if we are to fulfill that mission it is because of the expert hands of our mothers guiding us. What makes you great mothers is what makes you great colleagues. It’s my hope that we are able to give you all as much as you give us.

This is also my wife Kathleen’s first Mother’s Day. Those of you who know us or have been following along may remember the ordeal she went through to bring Gracie into the world. Since day one she’s been all that a mother can be -- handling a clueless father’s frequent missteps with eternal patience and grace, comforting Grace through her first sicknesses and all the while guiding us as a family. Grace already looks the part of her twin, but every day as she grows and learns, I see more and more of her mother in her -- from her ridiculous ears to her thirst for knowledge to the way she dances around the apartment to her first word - “mama”. Don’t get me wrong: our daughter certainly loves me. She just loves Kathleen more than everything else in the world combined, and that’s one of the few places where I’m thrilled to be runner-up.

It's also a special time because it’s Kathleen’s first Mother’s Day as a nurse. That career choice took a lot of bravery and dedication, including going to nursing school and doing clinicals upstate while 6 months pregnant. But the choice to serve our community during this pandemic was never really a choice. I don’t say that because she was compelled to serve by any outside forces without agency, but because like so many other doctors, nurses and other essential workers (including so many of our aunts, cousins and friends), she answered the call to serve with a full heart because it’s her calling. And while the job comes with 12 hour shifts and weekends spent at the hospital instead of together, and we are so lucky that she has been safe and healthy, the silent toll of everything going on now is a true test of character and resolve.

If the last two months have upended our routines, it’s also created new ones. And one that I’ll always cherish is bed time for Grace (usually around 7 PM), when we go to the window and scream and cheer for mommy along with the rest of our community. No matter what we’re doing, as soon as we hear the cheering, Grace perks up, starts clapping and drags me to the window where we whistle, clap, bang pans and yell “thank you, mommy!”. Even though I’m sure she has no idea why we do it, she sure gets a kick out of it. But I often think about what the world is going to look like once we’re through this, and what we’ll tell Grace. If anyone has any clue there, feel free to reach out. But I do know that when Grace is old enough to ask what Mommy and Daddy did during the COVID crisis, I’ll proudly tell her that Mommy was a hero. Because to me and Grace, that’s what she is: Mommy, our hero.

I started this whole thing off by mentioning that the heroism of our essential workers and the strength of a mother’s love have been exempt from polarization, but I fear that I may have been redundant. Because at the heart of it, I can think of no one and nothing more essential than a mother’s work. With love and gratitude, Happy Mother’s Day everyone.