Photo of Jennifer Stanley

I was born just a few weeks before my Mom graduated from high school. Right here in Marshalltown.

While I’m sure that raising me so young couldn’t have been easy, my Mom always had a wisdom beyond her years and she built a strong roadmap for me.

My Mom taught me that it was OK to be a kid and not grow up too fast, but she also showed me how to set goals and then achieve them, she encouraged me without pressuring me, she loved me, she cared for me, she supported me in everything.

Far too soon, at 36 years of age, I lost her. I was only 18 and my stepdad had passed just before her. My younger sister, brother and I were on our own.

During that incredibly difficult time, I began to realize that even though she was gone, the roadmap she left was still part of me. She had shown me how to have a servant’s heart, how to care for others, how to find strength and purpose. I used those lessons to pull myself up and support my siblings, to raise a family of my own, to get my master’s degree and to work hard and rise through the ranks.

And as I lead a business now, I realize that My Mom had also implanted the seeds I needed to be an anchor for hundreds of seniors. Seniors need much the same things our families do; they need love, care, attention, and someone to support them. Which is how my staff and I try to run The Willows, like this is our family. So when I go to work every day, I get to make her proud by living her legacy.

Thank you Mom, for teaching me how to lead with my heart.

I miss you every day and I love you so much.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms.