Posted by Kate Weldon LeBlanc
It is spring (supposedly). But as I write this, strong winds are thrashing the window panes of my Massachusetts home. Though I’ve lived in New England my whole life, I have found this long and cold winter especially challenging. For the past several months, my six-year-old daughter, like many children and even some adults, has been obsessed with the movie Frozen and its Oscar-winning song “Let It Go.” It is about a princess whose magical power sets off an eternal winter, and the irony of this is not lost on me.
However, I feel that something wonderful also happened this winter. In communities all across Greater Boston, our free Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS) parent groups continued to run each week, and parents and their babies continued to come. Of course we occasionally had to cancel for a snow day like everyone else, but in general the support groups were open and available for any family that needed them, as always. The motivation – whether to meet other parents, to leave the house, to receive guidance, or all of the above – is often more powerful than the weather.
My colleague Jacqueline Caceres is the leader of our two weekly groups for Spanish-speaking mothers, including one hosted at Temple Beth Israel in Waltham. She arrived at the temple on a particularly blustery, frigid Tuesday morning and thought she might find an empty room. Instead, she opened the door to find the room already full of expectant and new mothers. They had all bundled up themselves and their babies in order to attend. That is how much this group and Jacqueline mean to them, as well as how much they value being together and supporting each other. Jacqueline has been leading parent groups for years, and you might think an experience like this wouldn’t be a surprise or make much of an impression. But when Jacqueline returned to the office that day, she told us about her experience and was clearly moved. So were we.
My daughter has recently started singing a revised version of Frozen ’s signature tune, instead as an ode to green grass called “Let It Grow.” Maybe this will conjure up warmer days? Whatever the weather, we in CERS are always here for families with babies and young children.
Kate Weldon LeBlanc has been the associate director of CERS since August of 2009. Kate is passionate about child and family issues, particularly on building communities of support for parents. Prior to her arrival at JF&CS, she spent nearly ten years working in the departments of Child Advocacy and Government Relations at Children’s Hospital Boston. She holds a BSW from Skidmore College and a MPA from UMass Boston.