Recently, in partnership with Maurices for their #servicewithstyle campaign, we asked you to nominate your favorite mama to be Duluth’s 2018 Mom of the Year. The nominations flooded our inbox and we felt so grateful to read about all of the amazing mothers who are raising beautiful families, working meaningful jobs, volunteering their free time, and encouraging the people around them to embrace life. Wow! One mom stood out to us… she was nominated by three different people who all had beautiful things to write about her.
Kelly Nelson-Kairos is our 2018 Mom of the Year!
Duluth Moms Blog surprised Kelly, a single mom to four kids, on an early spring morning. Kelly is a domestic abuse survivor who has worked tirelessly to regain her emotional, physical, and spiritual confidence over the past few years. She has also supported her children, giving them solid ground to stand on and guiding them as they rebuild their lives. Together, and with the help of supportive friends, the family has battled ups, downs, legal battles, trauma, and dark and seemingly hopeless places.
They have persevered, and through it all, Kelly has been at the helm, raising her children with love and compassion. The family calls themselves the Fabulous Five and their mantra is “There is always something to be thankful for.” Kelly and her children are not just surviving a difficult past, they’re thriving in the now, and leaning on each other as they create a beautiful future together as the Fabulous Five.
Along with winning the title of “Mom of the Year,” Kelly was treated to a valuable prize package. She won:
- Professional hair and makeup services provided by Heart + Hustle Salon ($150 Value)
- Private styling session, including access to essential spring wardrobe selections, and a shopping spree with Maurice’s ($500 Value)
- Professional photographs of her pampering, a style shoot, and a professional family photoshoot at a later date TBD provided by Along an Inland Sea Photography ($500 Value)
We thought we’d say a few more words about why Kelly Nelson is deserving of her new Mom of the Year title, but one of her nominators already said it best!
kairos:. plural kairoi \-rȯi\ : a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action : the opportune and decisive moment which has a qualitative, permanent nature. (Wikipedia)
When I first met Kelly 5 ½ years ago, she had recently fled a war zone of domestic abuse and entered a new and challenging Kairos. The landscape her kiddos had lived in was riddled with uncertainty, unspeakable hurt, chaos, and fear. The scars clung to each member of her little family as they fought to find peace and truth. Through the turmoil of change, Kelly fought with courage and vision while also working to heal her own internal and external wounds. She asked for, and gratefully accepted, help.
Over the next few years, with perseverance and support from others, Kelly began to forge a new normal for her family. She quietly whispered words of truth and love to her kids, rarely raising her voice. She prayed. She fought. She sought counsel. She allowed friends and trusted people in her life to lovingly interact with her kids. Kelly became a mama bear, fighting the twisted legal system in order to protect her children. Even when things looked at their darkest, Kelly never gave up. She trusted God and kept moving.
The transformation in Kelly and in the kiddos over the last few years has been nothing short of remarkable. The five of them are functioning as a loving, connected family. They have beautiful moments where they take turns and listen to one another. Their lives are more balanced and they can better absorb the rollercoaster bumps and times of stress. Kelly has been a light and guide to her kids, showing them love and devotion. The changes that Kelly has shepherded within her family is of a beautiful and lasting Kairos.”
In her own words:
Today has been such an amazing and special day! I can not begin to describe my gratitude for the gift of this experience, as well as my sincere thankfulness for this sweet honor. If someone had knocked on my door and told me I earned a ribbon for perseverance, I would have humbly agreed that I have had much practice in this area of my life. But being honored as a mother is a beautiful privilege that I can’t quite find the words to express the depth to which it touches me. This honor has much to do with the beautiful, supportive, and kind friends I have been graced with, whose intentional efforts have allowed me to be blessed in this way.Being a single parent is not always easy, and is rarely a path one chooses; it’s formed out of necessity. Though our journey has been one of hardship, struggle, wounds needing mended, and hearts needing a better chance at a good life, our journey has also renewed our hope in God and trust in people. It has taught us about faith in things unseen, joy that can not be measured by circumstance, untapped strength buried deep within, and the love and friendship that is all around us. As the mother of my 4 gifts, I am determined to keep believing and fighting for their good and their future. I am truly rich with the great responsibility and profound privilege of being their mom, and getting to do life with them. There is never a dull moment; they are way too shiny for that!Thank you to everyone at Maurices, to Jessica from Hustle and Hearth Salon, to Anna from Along an Inland Sea, to Stephanie and the staff at Duluth Moms Blog, and to the dear women who nominated me. Today I felt very special. Between the soothing hair treatment, the much needed haircut, and the artistry behind my makeover; and the great fun in being able to find beautiful clothes to wear without the burden of the purchase, I felt as if I had been prepared to step on a magnificent float to partake in a grand parade. In reality, it did just that! The beautiful, hard, rewarding, scary, wonderful ride on the float of motherhood. Thank you for this outstanding day that I will not forget, and for capturing it on film as a sweet reminder on the more topsy-turvy of days! My cup runnneth over!”
When we spoke with Kelly, she expressed joy and hope–not just for the bright days ahead for her own family, but for the community at large. “Sometimes our darker journeys can be so lonely and isolating, but I can feel a grassroots movement bubbling up in Duluth. There are women who are creating spaces for families who need to be seen and heard.”
If you and your children are facing an unsafe environment at home, or are in the midst of a lonely legal battle, Kelly recommends turning to local experts, like Safe Haven and First Witness, who can provide support, resources, and understanding.