A great nurse and great mom

Christine Reynolds, center, shares a laugh with friends. (Photo provided)

Dear editor and Adirondack community:

We are writing to you, a place we call home and where our mom has worked as a nurse for over 40 years. Our mom, as some of you may know, is Christine Reynolds. If you don’t know her, you are definitely missing out. She is a charming 5-foot, 4-inches-tall lady with bright eyes, a generous smile and a welcoming spirit. She has been a caring and committed member of our medical community for more years then most. She loves politics and standing up for what is right, what is fair and what is good for all in her eyes.

She also loves her job as an emergency room nurse at Adirondack Medical Center almost as much as she loves us and her two grandchildren (almost). This month our mom is celebrating her retirement, and we were inspired to write this letter to you all as some of you may not really know what a nurse’s life is like behind the scenes. We certainly do not fully grasp it, but through walking with our mom for 35 of her 40 years of being a nurse, we have learned a lot about the commitment and care the nurses at AMC give to all of us, especially the care from our mom.

This letter is written from the eyes of two children who are committed to supporting our community with more nurses like our mom — may this note inspire someone out there to offer a thanksgiving dinner to the ER staff or maybe just a friendly hello next time you are in need.

We remember going to school and having a teacher come up to us in tears, saying how our mom helped save her father’s life. We remember a lovely local bartender welling up as she shared how our mom helped her sister through her last stages of cancer. We remember one of our best friends telling us that our mom cut the hair of his father after he died in her arms so he could have it. We remember a stranger in the grocery store coming up to us and saying, “Your mom, she saved my life one time — helped me get through a rough patch with drugs and alcohol and was so kind to me along the way.”

Christine Reynolds and her grandchild Lilah Jean lie sleeping. (Photo provided)

Our mom taught us to be a friend, a colleague and someone who is beyond selfless. She taught us to always talk to strangers — just don’t get in their cars. We remember our mom and her cohort of incredible nurse buddies getting so excited to dress up in the best costumes for Halloween — our mom being Howard Stern one year takes the cake. For as much as she cares so, so deeply for her patient, her co-workers and the hospital as a whole, she also knows how to let her hair down. We also know for a fact that no one is as good of a prankster as our mom; she has the best way of making you laugh at a silly scheme and actually pulling it off.

We also remember our mom’s nurse friends taking care of us when our mom was working on a Christmas morning or Thanksgiving Day because she was pulling a 24-hour shift so her colleagues could be with their families. The list of thoughtfulness in the nursing community in the Adirondacks goes on and on: the camaraderie, the fun and most importantly, the unity that is shared in the hospital walls. It has not only served the community; it has served our family.

Our mom is not a nurse who just shows up for work like a robot — she goes beyond the call of duty. She has passion; she has commitment; she drives patients home or gives them money from her own packet for a taxi; she brings flowers to the hospital to have it look less white-walled; she remembers her co-workers’ birthdays and is there for them and their families if they need anything at all, and truly IS there.

We are not quite sure how she does it. We never liked the smell of a hospital or the thought of someone throwing up on us — gross. Yet our mom has experienced the blood, the guts, the barf, the pain, the loss and the grief. She has been a part of keeping our community alive and well.

We are so proud to be her daughter and son, and to see now that those missed holidays and long days of work were all to help others — what a commitment. Thank you, Mom.

Emily Reynolds lives in Nashville, and Grant Reynolds lives in New York City.