Story by Matt Kennedy
The fact that 9-year-old Carmella Kenney is using such adult words is a testament to the way she is raised by her mother, Julia.
She rolls down the list of her favorite things about her mom and starts with a couple shining qualities that loving mothers possess. Carmella says her mom is nice and funny, but she also tosses around words like “responsible” and “respectful” and says Julia “always tells the truth.”
Young kids can be notoriously honest, so Carmella’s words in this case carry plenty of weight.
Julia is the right mix of particular and flexible, capable of dominating the family calendar one moment and having spontaneous fun with Carmella or her husband, Jason, the next. But most of all, it’s clear by the way she is viewed by her daughter that Julia sets the right example and does right by her at all times.
“She’s very loving, always on time, and a constant care giver,” Jason said. “She’s an amazing mother. She is always on task and very structured, and she is always there to help us.”
Hanging out with Mom is one of Carmella’s favorite things to do, and that almost always happens by Julia meeting her 9-year-old where she is happiest. They love to cook together and play Uno and war, and during the winter months, sledding is one of Carmella’s favorites.
Julia spends half the week working for New York State Department of Health and she’s also licensed geologist, but family time is sacred and she invests in the relationship with her daughter. To hear Carmella speak of responsibility and honesty is proof enough that she is absorbing all of her mom’s life lessons.
“She’s very patient and cheerful, and it’s fun to hang out with her,” Carmella said.
Julia takes great pride in her role as a mother, but she has also thrived in her career and brought out the best in her husband. Jason has been on a steady upward trajectory ever since he did everything he could get Julia’s attention in their high school AP classes. He said the distraction of having her in the same class was too much for him to bear and was quickly removed from those classes.
Jason has done some growing on his own from that point forward, but he knows that Julia’s presence has accelerated it greatly. One of the things he says they love to do now is enjoy a rare night out alone, along with watching the Raiders and going to Carmella’s soccer games.
“She keeps me calm and level-headed,” Jason said. “She always listens and provides positive feedback. She’s a calming and steady force.”
She is just the force that both Jason and Carmella need because she does it in so many ways. Julia can go with the flow or create the structure her family needs. She is the loving, playful, best friend kind of mom to Carmella while also teaching her such valuable lessons.
Julia is everything to her family, and Jason and Carmella are beyond grateful for her. So far beyond grateful, in fact, that they needed a little helping putting it into words.
“We love you more than we could ever express, which is why we needed the help of a professional journalist,” Jason and Carmella said. “We can’t thank you enough for all the effort and time you put into making us the family we are today!”