Wide Awake: Saying Thanks
A small twist on my annual list

Every year, I dedicate this column to things I’m thankful for, and often I worry I won’t be able to fill the page. But this year, I’m doing something a little different and writing about the women I’m thankful for. Now I’m worried one page isn’t enough.

I’m thankful for my mom. There is so much she has taught me, of course, but most of all, she’s shown me how to live a life full of love. I’m trying to do that.

I have a small tile that says: “I thought I knew happiness until the day my baby smiled.” This is so true, and I’ll be forever grateful for Klein, Maura & Marirose.

I’m thankful for the women in my family: Maureen, Mary Kay, Meaghan, Amy & Lauren. This year, we celebrated Meaghan’s wedding, and I was reminded that when your family gathers for special occasions, it doesn’t matter how often you see each other, you feel the significance of the moment and you treasure the people who allow you to share it with them.

I’m thankful for the women I work with every day: Jayne, who has shown me how you survive; Ellen, who has shown me how deep someone can love their family; Patty, who can take care of a million little things all at the same time; and Elyse, who reminds me what it’s like to be in control of the great life that lies ahead. I also consider myself lucky to be able to work with my daughter Klein. I love seeing the woman she has become.

I’m thankful for Sally Friedman, who has graced SJ Magazine with her beautiful insights since its inception.

Many thanks to Carli Lloyd for saying yes all the times we asked for an interview, but most of all, for just killing it in everything she does.

I’m thankful for Miss Gaasche and Miss Gallagher, my high school English teachers. They made me believe people would enjoy reading what I wrote.

There are many teachers who made a difference in my daughters’ lives. I’m especially thankful for Mrs. Martino, Mrs. Marrazzo and Mrs. Bernard. Their impact was life changing.

My closest childhood friends were Jennifer, Kelly and Lisa. I’m grateful for their influence in making me who I am.

My closest friends now are Janice, Nancy and Mindy. I’m grateful they think the person I am is ok to hang around with.

This is going to sound weird, but I’ve been following a few women on Instagram who are over 50 and work out – a lot. I now know my age doesn’t mean I have no control over my body or my health. I’m thankful I found them.

When I was first married, I lived in Cherry Hill, where the late Maria Barnaby Greenwald was mayor. And later, Susan Bass Levin became mayor. I was working at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center where Sister Elizabeth Corry was CEO. I was 23. These women made me think a woman being mayor or CEO was no big deal. I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for Inspira CEO Amy Mansue and AtlantiCare CEO Lori Herndon. They are succeeding in positions usually held by men, and it’s wonderful to watch. I interviewed them both last year for the Women’s Empowerment Series, and Amy became emotional when she spoke about the large number of Covid deaths. She showed me you can be powerful and in control, and still feel things.

For years now, I’ve been aware of the many women in South Jersey who show up for other women. They show up for SJ Magazine. And they show up for me. Often, it’s the same women again and again. I sometimes wonder what they would think if they knew I consider them a friend. I’m so very, very grateful for the relationship we have.

And then there are the women who stop me on the street and tell me about something they read in SJ Magazine that touched them. They remind me that we have a connection. It’s such a wonderful compliment.

You probably know by now that empowering women is really important to us here at SJ Magazine. It’s what we’re all about. When you read our pages or come to our events or follow us on social media, you’re helping us with that mission. So thank you.

November 2021
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