Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Monday, June 1, 2020

Good News: God Knows We Need It

Part I – New Reality
Let me first say that I genuinely had nothing to do with this effort. Bee Mighty has so many amazing changemakers, voices generating true results aiding the Bee Mighty population, but none of them were me or mine today.

Now that I’ve said that out loud, I AM SO INSPIRED by this initiative and those that pulled it off!

People, Bee Mighty is doing great things ALL THE TIME. The Executive Director, Joanna, is a Bad Ass! She is shrewd, tenacious and passionate. She had a sweet preemie, which is her own precious story to tell, but more than being organized, hard-working and insightful… she gets it. Bee Mighty and our community and Board are lucky to have her.

I have to confess that I approached Bee Mighty’s April Board Meeting with trepidation. I had so much anxiety before our call. So many questions, so much angst and zero certainty and the world was on fire! I thought about uplifting words to our Board; but honestly, in April there weren’t any. I just made a secret promise to myself that I wouldn’t use the world ‘unprecedented’ because I felt like it was dripping off everyone’s tongues and would be disingenuous.

My mind raced with ‘Should we even have this meeting?’

“How the hell do these Board Members have time for Bee Mighty, when they are living the same chaos I am… working, teaching, parenting, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, worrying…?”

But then I landed on the good Bee Mighty does for others.
Everyone needs some good.

For the first time in a long time, I was tasked with creating our agenda. I mirrored our traditional format, with ample time for each of the Committee Chairs to update the Board per usual: Finance, Outreach, Grants, etc. But I lead with: COVID.

“How is everyone?” “How are you managing?” “Are you okay?”
Which spawned into: “How is Bee Mighty going to adapt in a pandemic?”
“How are we going to fundraise? People are losing jobs. Everyone is uncertain.”
“What about our annual gala? Will people WANT to be together in November even if we are allowed?”
“There are so many other needs right now…. Healthcare workers, grieving families, mask makers…”

The worst part: I DIDN’T HAVE THE ANSWERS!!
I don’t think anyone does.

I opened the call, curious who could/would attend, given the angst in April. Within the first five minutes, someone asked, “How are our Bee Mighty children getting critical therapy during the pandemic?” We acknowledged that with the Stay at Home order; families do not have access to therapy, unless it is virtual. Not to mention, what does it look like in the months to follow, when medically fragile families are afraid to visit a doctor or therapist?

And the ideas began… like a river flowing after the greatest snow season of all time.

I was awestruck to hear the enthusiasm and creativity from the Board of how we can adapt to the new, dire need to fulfill our mission, during the pandemic. A new energy emerged on our call. The worry that our Board would be too overloaded took a backseat and the reason they are the Bee Mighty Board, came to the forefront. They want to help – now more than ever.

Quickly, Joanna implemented and executed reoccurring meals for NICU Health Care Providers, in lieu of the steady meals provided to families in the NICU and partnered with other NICU Organizations to provide a Mother’s Day gift to NICU Mommas. Other ideas surfaced and evolved from Bee Mighty’s army. Brilliant, thoughtful, change-making ideas….

Part II - Lenore
I can quickly rattle off our favorite nurses, from when Shaw was in the NICU. One of them was Lenore.
She always worked nights. I would call her at all hours, since we were not allowed to spend the night at the hospital. She would soothe my fears and aches by telling me every detail about Shaw ,since I had left that evening. She would tell me the stories she was telling him at 3am, since the days/nights are mixed up in the NICU. She would also tell me the truth, if she was concerned. She taught me how to give Shaw a bath, when he was two pounds and I was terrified to touch him. Lenore hand made a quilt for Shaw (and his ‘NICU Brother’ Josiah). It rested over his isolette his entire NICU stay.
Nine years later, it rests at the foot of his bed.

She was special. Her sweet southern drawl, cherry red hair and vibrant smile. We shared stories of love and loss and Lenore taught me so much about being a Mom. The trust and respect that I had (have) for her is indescribable. I was more vulnerable, terrified and humble with these miracle workers than I have ever been in my life. It creates a bond unlike another – stronger than anything I have known.

Over the years, life happens. Kids take over. We moved from NC to CO. I watch her family from afar and send cards year after year, but not much more.

Part III – Full Circle
Back to the brain storming session for these mighty NICU grads and how we can support them in this new environment. Joanna has been working tirelessly with the NICU Follow Up Clinic at one of the local hospitals. She was asked if Bee Mighty would consider funding computers to families that could no longer receive therapy in person, due to Covid 19; however, didn’t have the resources to receive treatment virtually.

The Bee Mighty Board approved the motion to support virtual therapy (a first vote of it’s kind). And Today, Bee Mighty provided 10 computers to Levine Children’s Follow Up Clinic for NICU grads that need virtual therapy! Bee Mighty partnered with another great non profit, E2D, to purchase refurbished computers at a discount.

I received the following photo:

That’s Joanna, Bee Mighty’s Executive Director on the right (sporting her fab BM tee!) On the left, you’ll find Lenore, who now works for a different hospital, serving the same NICU audience but after they leave the NICU.

What I wouldn’t give to have been in Charlotte today, bridging this beautiful gap with two incredible women. Such inspiring work you two ladies are doing.

Meanwhile, back at the Richter Colorado homestead, we’re sharing a little might of our own.

Masks: Tell them Bee Mighty sent you.