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Kindness And Caring
Mommy Musings 8-30-23

Kindness is alive and well and I’m absolutely here for it.

Just a handful of weeks prior to this column I received my “annual gift card” from an unknown reader who over the years has entrusted me with a sort of pay it forward challenge.

Still unaware of who the mystery sender is, annually an unexpected note will arrive in our office with a Starbucks gift card and words of encouragement to keep sharing my heart and truthfulness.

Truth be told, the last gift card came earlier this year and the timing (personally) could not have been better. At the time, I was living away from home while undergoing cancer treatment at UCSF. During my six-week stay away, I was fortunate enough to have my kids join me for a week of play and memory making in the City by the Bay. Getting creative once again, we used the generous gift card for some breakfast on the go, treating another while placing our order.

As tough as it was not to use the gift card 100 percent on others, the intent of the card someone transitioned from its initial intent of “a little something” for me personally to blessing others. During the season we were in earlier this year, that just happened to be us.

Now with the new card in hand, we are prepared to purchase a round of gift cards to randomly bless some givers with to bring a bit of joy and kindness, thanks to a reader.

Speaking of kindness and readers, now would also be the time to not just share my gratitude for the anonymous gift card sender, but also to our readers. Most specifically of this space.

Over the past year the message and lessons shared in this space have had a bit of a shift, which might not suit everyone. As I share on the semi-regular as I become more authentic than ever before; that’s okay. Just as one can choose to “unfollow” a person on social media, they can also turn the page of this paper, skip my words and I wouldn’t be all the wiser.

As I shared with a friend most recently, I would rather have genuine attention from 30 people that I might help, than inauthentic “buy in” from 900-plus fake followers.

The message in that being while for some the sharing may feel self-centered, that could not be further from the truth. In the words of some dear friends whom I discussed this with recently, those who know me personally know … this is just who I am and the goal is to have an impact on another in a positive way.

The impact and conversations which come as a result are honestly what keep me going. It means the world to me to have individuals or families reach out or share what they’ve gained as a result of my transparency.

So, as I set out to Starbucks with my Saturday to-do list, I can’t help but take a minute to say thank you to the readers. The people who make a point to take a minute to pause from the busyness of everyday life to see what T might be musing about this time. It’s a crazy, funny life and as challenges turn to lessons and sorrow turns to joy, I simply have to say, I appreciate you. Here’s to what’s to come and how I’m used to share it. Cheers.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.