My childhood friend, Kerry, is one of these women who shows how big love can be again and again. I met her when we were in middle school. We shared a love of dance, dark, sarcastic humor, and the daytime soap, General Hospital. There was many an afternoon where we’d end up back at her house, checking in on our friends, Blackie, The Scorpios, Frisco and Felicia, and, of course, Luke and Laura. The basement of her home holds memories of huge gatherings whether we were watching Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video for the first time or chilling out during various Performing Art Company parties. She was always the consummate hostess even in her teens.
She would also babysit and prove early on that she had the temperament to be around children 24/7. So, working as a nurse in the Oncology ward at Boston Children’s Hospital seemed like a pretty natural choice for her once we were adults – she’s been there for around 14 years. She watches over very young, very sick children and takes the time to develop relationships with these children and their families despite her workload. Sometimes, her relationships lead to funerals and she always makes the effort to show up, remaining as much a part of their family as a blood relative. I constantly marvel at how she’s able to keep starting anew every time another child is put in her care. She may have a smushy heart but her mind is as tough as nails.
She’s just as involved in the care of her own two children: juggling her ever-shifting work schedule, her husband’s schedule, and their children’s activities. It’s a complicated chess game but, lo and behold, there is always someone going to play rehearsal or soccer practice. She never skimps on attention to the details involved. Her Christmas trees are like something out of The Nutcracker, meticulously decorated and always twice my size (not hard, but still). If she ever decides to leave nursing, she would certainly run a thriving bakery since everything that emerges from her kitchen is chocolatey delicious and her cake decorating skills are insane. Her latest birthday cake to her son was like someone shrunk Gillette Stadium, complete with players and a goalpost – a frigging masterpiece. Even the guinea pigs that her children keep receive the same loving care that she provides for everyone else. She plays big all the time.
It’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of great mothers out there that run their own Cirque de Soleil every day. This just happens to be a mother I’ve watched up close for years. I know what challenges she’s faced and how she plays through those challenges like Tom Brady. I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like but whenever I’ve needed help in the past few years, she is always amongst the first to show up. She’s one of those people that does much of what she does behind the scenes and puts everyone’s needs ahead of her own. So, it is my pleasure to shine a little light on her here and acknowledge the amazing, caring, wellness force that she is. Now, if we could just figure out some time to get her on my massage table…