I Can See Your Halo

February 24, 2011

Today, I’m flying to New Jersey, because New Jersey is awesome, but also because Johnson & Johnson is there, and I kind of work for them – as a social media ambassador slash advisor on all things related to moms in social media using social media for social good, which is one of those job descriptions that sounds like a caption on an Oatmeal comic, but there you go – and we’re doing a thing this weekend – we’re calling it a salon – strategizing and brainstorming with a small group of moms-in-social-media type persons about using social media for social good, etc. And I’m excited, not only because New Jersey is awesome and who doesn’t want to go to New Jersey in February, but because some of the causes that we’ll be discussing are near and dear to my heart and I love talking about them and thinking about how to help them and I would totally work to help them out for free. Don’t tell J&J that.

One of those causes is PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV), and in particular, the work done by Mothers 2 Mothers in that area, work that I saw in action when I was in Lesotho last September working with the Global Fund/Born HIV Free campaign. I met the co-founder of Mothers 2 Mothers, Robin Smalley, at TedWomen (M2M is supported by J&J, who was also a sponsor of TedWomen; I attended as J&J’s guest), and we got to talking about what they might do for a social media campaign around Mother’s Day, and then we talked about it more after TedWomen, and then we moved past to talking to doing, and now we have something in the works, which I’ll probably talk about in New Jersey, and which I’ll certainly hit you all up to get involved in, which you will, I hope, because this is important. The biggest hope for turning the tide on HIV resides with women, who will walk – who are walking – across mountains to make sure that their children have an HIV-free future, and Mothers 2 Mothers does extraordinary work supporting them in that effort to protect those futures.

Her future:

I keep coming back to her, because she represents, for me, exactly that hope, the hope for – the expectation of – a future in which anything is possible. Her story – as limited and partial as it is here – is the story of that hope. And there are other girls and other children and – per Mothers 2 Mothers – other women, mothers, whose stories are stories of hope. Many of those stories are also stories of pain and fear – I told you about Mammope, whose naked fear broke my heart into a million jagged pieces – but they are, all of them, end of the day about hope. And even the tiniest bit of hope can be everything.

And anything I can do to support that hope, I want to do. Not because I’m some super good person who thrives on selflessness and do-goodery. I’m not. I’m self-centred and cranky and prone to random bitchiness. But keeping those million jagged pieces of my heart together requires more than just duct tape. It requires doing something. So I’m doing something. Or, at least, trying.

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    Loukia February 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I love how much good you do. You’re an inspiration, and I want to do MORE good, too. Please let me know what I can do to help in any way. I am really serious. You’re awesome!

    foodmomiac February 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I can see YOUR halo, friend.

    The Domestic Goddess February 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Have fun in that tropical location known as New Jersey. I’ll wave to you from this side of the river.

    kelly @kellynaturally February 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Catherine, I live in New Jersey! :-D

    J&J is in a pretty nice part of the state – if you have an opportunity to visit Grounds for Sculpture while you’re in the area, you really should (it actually was founded by Seward Johnson [son of Robert Johnson - founder of the co. you are working with] – you can see some of his art there).

    Should be a fairly balmy few days here (in the 40s & 50s). Enjoy your visit to the garden state!!

    Colleen February 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

    New Jersey IS quite awesome.

    Can’t wait to hear more about the wonderful things you’re doing.

    Forgotten February 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

    That video still makes me cry. It’s so beautiful.

    You are such a good person. I’m happy to have found you on this internet space.

    Danielle Smith February 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I just love your heart. Really. Hope the trip is nothing but goodness and inspiration…. like you. xoxo

    Karen Sugarpants February 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I have to disagree with you on your claim of being “self-centred and cranky and prone to random bitchiness.” You are not, Catherine. Not in the least.
    This cause is an important one. I would love to help if I can. We are studying these issues at school, and I would really love to show you something inspiring when you are home. It’s hope for these young women, the orphans of HIV/AIDS, and it’s amazing.

    Her Bad Mother February 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    @Karen Sugarpants, YES. would LOVE to speak with you about this!

    Where's Mommy? February 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Where’s Mommy? in New Jersey . . .

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