David Rosen and his wife Deborah live in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with daughters Allison, 10, and Jessica, 7. David has worked in pharmaceutical and healthcare public relations since 1993. Laid off at Bristol-Myers Squibb four years ago, he wandered the earth in search of his next position. In 2010 he went back to school to become a New Jersey state-certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and today answers the call in the towns of Cherry Hill and Berlin. He’s also a volunteer firefighter with a unit of the Cherry Hill Fire Department that coordinates rehabilitation of firefighters during incidents. Last month he landed a position at Ogilvy Public Relations in New York.
Dear Allie and Jess:
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote you a letter and told you how you have helped me through these last few, tough years for me. I promised you I’d be there to support you and be your “cornerstone.” I promised to spend as much time as possible with you, all to help you grow and catch you when you fall (http://letterstomykids.org/new-years-eve-guest-columnist-david-rosenyou).
I’d like to think I’ve succeeded. Yes I’ve been around more since getting laid off at the end of 2008. But in 2012, even with my crazy hours as an EMT, I was more involved — general family time, coaching soccer and running you around to all your activities.
You’ve both matured so much in the last year. You took a huge step in going to sleep-away camp for the first time. I know it was harder on your mom and me than it was for you to go away for the summer. You both ran to the bus when it was time to go. Your excitement comforted us. But we felt sad because you were leaving us for the first time.
But then you both did something – you climbed the steps of the bus, turned around, and flashed us those big, beautiful smiles — and that strengthened us. In that split second, everything become okay – we knew we had prepared you for those weeks away. You in turn prepared us to make it through those long summer days without you. Showing us your strength made us stronger.
You also showed us through your commitment to your schoolwork and the sports you participate in that the lessons we’re trying to teach you are getting through. You’ve proven yourselves as leaders on the soccer field and dedicated and disciplined with your karate lessons. Your growing confidence makes your mother and me so proud! Best of all, you continued to help me — to help me to see what’s truly important in life. You continued to support, comfort and tolerate me. It was hardly easy. Even though I returned to public relations for a few months, that job ended in January. I went back to being home and job searching. I put in long hours every day looking for a job and playing taxi driver for the both of you. And then I went to work at the Cherry Hill Fire Department or Berlin EMS where I gave my time to help others in need. Only sometimes did you understand why I was away so much. But you accepted it. You made sure the time we spent together — at Phillies games or at your soccer and softball practices — really counted. I often wished I could freeze time so those moments would last forever. But then the next day would come and turn out to be even better.
In 2013, I promise to be there for you as much as you’ve been there for me.