Celebrating Mom: This Mother’s Day, a toast to small triumphs


By Lisa Tolin
Illustrations by Katty Huertas

Illustration of trophy that reads mom

In this year when moms have faced challenges like no other, Mother’s Day should be a celebration like never before.

TODAY is celebrating heroic moms who have kept their families and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re celebrating moms who have juggled work and family, or been forced to make tough choices. And we’re celebrating the moms who managed to put on pants today. (We see you.)

We asked moms to share their biggest triumphs this year. Here’s what you told us.

In this year when moms have faced challenges like no other, Mother’s Day should be a celebration like never before.

TODAY is celebrating heroic moms who have kept their families and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re celebrating moms who have juggled work and family, or been forced to make tough choices. And we’re celebrating the moms who managed to put on pants today. (We see you.)

We asked moms to share their biggest triumphs this year. Here’s what you told us.

“My biggest triumph as a mom over this last year was building a nonprofit that would serve other moms like me! When I don’t know what to do, I do for others. When I don’t know how to help myself, I help others.”

-Lisa Pena, Rio Hondo, Texas, founder of Labeled & Loved, a nonprofit to help families with special needs www.labeledandloved.org


“My biggest triumph as a mom over this past year is having kept my family healthy and COVID-19 negative. … I will never take our blessings of this past year for granted. Never.”

-LouAnn Schimmel, Mill Creek, Washington

“My now 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in August of 2019, at just 3.5 years old. Just as the world began shutting down last March, she was beginning the most intense phase of her entire 2.5-year treatment, with chemotherapy that would go on to completely wipe out her immune system (and her hair). With the shift to working from home and an adjusted work/life balance, I was able to focus so much more on my daughter's health and wellness, keep her protected at home and get her through the worst days of treatment. I've since watched her hair start to come back in, thicker and curlier than before, her body begin to regain strength and start growing again, and finally watch her rejoin her sister and little friends back at the small home day care around the block. Seeing the resiliency of my young girls, and watching them thrive in such major challenges, is beyond a triumph for this momma. It is everything.”

-Kelly Acker, Rosemount, Minnesota

Illustration of stork carrying a baby

I had my first child during the pandemic! Miles Christopher was born healthy and arrived exactly on his due date.

- Karla Wedel, Pasadena, California

“Most days my mother has eight grandchildren at her house. Her day usually starts at 6-6:30 a.m. and ends around 8 or 9 p.m. My sister and I are both in health care now and work an hour away, sometimes farther. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without her. … Last year I was on nightshift, 12-hour shifts, seven days a week for a month and a half. Which means she was on the clock day in and day out. She never once complained (even when I did).”

- Rebecca Rose, Branford, Florida


Illustration of grasshoper

“If you know me, you know I am not a patient person. I am bubbly and I LOOOVE instant rewards, low drama, a good to-do list and resting on my hammock. My biggest triumph over the last year has been ramping up on my patience when things did not go as planned. … Through it all, I have weathered the storm but ... will I weather the next one? Patience, my little grasshopper! COVID Patience is a real thing :)”

- Barbara Torrico, Leesburg, Virginia


“Figuring out virtual learning for a hearing impaired third grader. I’ve learned that my daughter, Naomi, is stronger than I gave her credit for. The hearing impairment has caused me to see that it adds character rather than a disability. My Naomi is resilient and continues to achieve despite labels placed on her.”

- Tiffany Welsh, Grandview Heights, Ohio

Illustration of a healthy meal

“The time saved from not having to commute allowed me to search for new recipes, meal plan, and cook some healthy meals that even my toddler enjoyed. My household sat around the table more, talked more, and were generally able to enjoy our afternoons together as these home cooked meals united us."

- Katie Baum, Merritt Island, Florida


“Love and looking out for each other. In this universe we are one.”

-Debbie Crumidy, Thomasville, Georgia


Illustration of military hat

“My biggest triumph for the year is successfully parenting four kids on my own after an unexpected deployment. I had twins in June 2020 and my husband had to leave to prepare for deployment within two weeks of their birth. We haven't seen him since the end of July. I also managed to pass the CPA exam and work full time. This year has been my most challenging yet and my motto was to survive and advance.”

- Megan Peters, Auburn, Kansas