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The Other Side of Mothers

Finding meaning beyond cooking, cleaning, and carpools



Vanessa DeRaffele

Mother’s Day is a time to appreciate the many thankless tasks involved in child-rearing. The cooking. The cleaning. The wiping of noses. Since the dawn of time, mothers have heroically fulfilled these maternal duties. Of course most moms are not just moms. They are also our teachers, our small business owners, our volunteers, and our doctors and nurses. From the busy years of raising toddlers through the stress of paying college tuitions, mothers seem to always find the time to also become integral parts of our communities. In fact, they are the glue that holds communities like Ridgefield together.

The Daily Grind

Before her alarm goes off at 4:30 each morning, Karen Isaac has already packed lunches, written permission slips, and planned carpools for her kids, Sam (14), Julia (13), and Josh (11). She doesn’t see her kids when they wake up for school, though. Because Karen is co-owner of Daily Fare, a commuter coffee and catering shop that offers to-go meals at the Bethel Train Station. And by the time her kids wake up, she’s already brewed the coffee, baked the scones, and started cooking meals for the evening rush.

Along with business partner Robin Grubard, Isaac parlayed her skills as a personal chef into this year-old business that is already legendary with locals. She was strictly a stay-at-home mom for the first ten years of her kids’ lives. But once they all went off to school full time, she felt she needed more going on in her life. But what? “I love to cook,” she says. “I was always helping my mom with holiday meals, baking goodies, or just regular dinners. So I figured, Why not?”

Isaac says she prefers the early shift, so she can be home and available for her kids when they come home from school at 3 p.m. When she does get home, it’s time to catch up on housework and walk the dog before the kids once again take over her life. Soccer, basketball, religion, and Girl Scouts keep things lively in the evenings. And on weekends in the fall she works for SCOR as a referee and field assigner. “It keeps me involved in my kids’ activities and the community,” she says. “And I like having the business, because it’s something that is mine.”
 

Dog Days

Louise Edwards loves being a mom. And for a long time, she was perfectly content to be just that. Raising three kids Chloe (12), George (9), and Hebe (4) kept her both busy and fulfilled. But like many mothers, she had a nagging feeling she was missing something. And she has her dog to thank for figuring out what it was.

Her latest journey began after she enrolled her dog, Taka, 
in a Therapy Dog training class at Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue. Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship for the elderly or infirm. And once Hebe was in preschool a few hours a day, Edwards and Taka began making the rounds, visiting the elderly at their homes, and letting children read aloud to the dog at local elementary schools.

Soon Edwards realized that she too got a great deal of fulfillment and even therapy from this experience. “Animals can really help to change the energy in a room,” says Edwards. “Even just for a few moments to not think about how sick you are can help so much. And it’s a funny thing about helping others, you almost always end up helping yourself as well.”

Before she knew it, Edwards was enrolled at Fordham University pursuing a master’s in social work, with the intention 
of developing her skills in animal-assisted therapy, and possibly setting up her own practice. The program will take between three and four years to complete, but she carries the extra load with aplomb. “Timing is everything,” she says, while running kids to and from their different after school activities. “I don’t have a minute to spare. But I feel like I’m engaged in the outside world again. And my kids are learning important lessons just by watching me go through the process.”

Doctor Mom

Sometimes a mother’s magic can be felt at home, and sometimes it can be felt half a world away. Patricia Jorquera is mother to Alejandro (4) and Nicolas (nearly one). She is also a pediatrician, and two years ago she decided to leave her high-end practice in New Canaan to start her own practice in Norwalk, serving the under-insured. She now has 1,000 patients. “The practice 
has grown at an incredible rate in the first year and a half,” she says. “And we are paying the bills which is more than I could’ve 
hoped for.”

But Jorquera’s journey takes her much farther from Ridgefield than Norwalk. About four years ago, along with her physician-assistant husband Jens Haerter, she started a non-profit organization called HealtheChildren (healthechildren.us), dedicated to establishing community-based health care in the developing world. The group has focused most of its efforts 
in Ecuador, necessitating a handful of trips back and forth 
for Jorquera.

More recently, however, Jorquera traveled to Haiti to help earthquake victims. She and five other colleagues took $75,000 worth of donated medicine and supplies from AmeriCares with them on their flight, which took her away from her boys for the first time. When she arrived, she couldn’t believe what she saw. There was rubble everywhere. People were living on the streets. The doctors saw 200 patients a day mostly suffering from dehydration, starvation, and malnutrition.

Jorquera feels her work in Haiti (and Ecuador) is just beginning. “I love my work as a pediatrician,” she says, “working with children and medicine is my passion and I am in heaven when I can help to heal them too.”

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December 2018

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

The Sanctuary Series celebrates the Holiday Season on Sunday afternoon, December 16, with "Bach for the Holidays" featuring keyboardist Anthony Newman performing selected works on piano and organ...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: The Sanctuary Series
Telephone: 203-550-5992
Contact Name: Mary Jane Newman
Website »

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Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Vanessa Williams, the multi-platinum recording artist and actress from Chappaqua will headline a holiday benefit concert for San Miguel Academy of Newburgh (SMAN) on December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at...

Cost: $100

Where:
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY  10514
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Sponsor: Orange Bank & Trust Company

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

December 19th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate holiday cookies with icing, candies, and other treats! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS Recreation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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It’s a night of holiday favorites with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra! This show features classics like “Sleigh Ride,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little...

Cost: $40

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series, Holiday Series
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Nina Bertolino This program will meet every other Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:30 on the following dates: September 12th & 26th, October 10th & 24th, November 7th & 21st, December 5th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
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Create works of art that inspire, awe, and excite in this daylong workshop celebrating the tricks and tools employed by abstract artists. From sculpture to painting, use a number of materials from...

Cost: $75; $67.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

December 22nd at 1:00 PM. Open to all ages. Create ornaments out of popsicle sticks such as popsicle snowflakes and more! Free and no registration required. For questions, you can email the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Ridgefield Guild of Artists' 14th Annual Festive Home...All That Glitters! opens Friday evening, November 16th with a preview party from 6-8pm.  For an entry fee of $20, attendees will...

Cost: $20 Preview Night Party/Free Days

Where:
Ridgefield Guild of Artists
34 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Guild of Artists
Telephone: 203.438.8863
Contact Name: Mary Pat Devine
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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