Twenty-one years ago, at the tender age of 26, I purchased my dental practice from my retiring mentor, Dr. Jeff Mazza. Dr. Mazza had faithfully served his patients for more than three decades and he handed the reins over to me. As you can imagine, this was a transaction that came with much stress and fear for someone in her mid-twenties and just out of dental school. Dr. Mazza was entering a season of retirement and enjoyment as I was entering the season of adulthood and business ownership.
One of the first tasks that I had as a business owner was the hiring of a new staff member. All of Dr. Mazza’s staff had stayed onboard with me except his hygienist, who was also entering a new season of her life. She had married and was eager to start a family. Some of you may remember Mary but you may not know that the gift she blessed me with when she left was the referral of Laura (Prillaman) Klas.
Laura and I met over two decades ago. I remember very little of our first interactions other than knowing that Mary spoke very highly of her. Laura quickly demonstrated a devout dedication to her patients and to the practice that I was trying to grow. We were both so young, as were Krystal, Sandra and soon-to-be-hired Laurie (referred by Sandra).
We call ourselves the Fabulous Five…we’ve been together almost half our lives. We spend more waking hours together than we spend with any other humans in our lives, including our spouses. It is a very special and unique bond that we have, it likely rivals true blood-related sisters. We love each other in a way that goes beyond work colleagues. And just like real sisters, we have laughed and cried, we have hugged and fought with one another but at the end of the day, we come back to the central theme of respect and love above all else.
This deep and sincere relationship is how I knew before Laura told me that she would be retiring to be with her babies. No, there was no evidence at work that she had ‘checked out’ or was giving less to the practice or her patients. In fact, other than gut intuition, I can’t really tell you how I knew.
But knowing gave me a sense of peace. I am thrilled for her while also being sorry for my loss. As a mother, raising children in this backward world where up is down and wrong is right, I completely admire Laura for taking on the most coveted job in the world….BEING A MOTHER! She will be there when her babies come home from school, she will be able to attend functions and watch every sporting event. She can be involved with what her children are learning and be sure that it aligns with her morals and values. Her children may not know this yet but they have one of the most amazing moms I have ever met and now she will be able to devote 100% of her time to them. I applaud you, Laura! Way to go!! You have every ounce of my support!! You are doing the right thing and you will never regret the moments and memories you will have with your children.
Laura, I want to thank you for the years of dedication that you gave to your patients, your colleagues, and to me. I am far from a perfect leader or employer but you stayed by my side as I learned, as I grew, and as we both entered the world of motherhood. Yes, there is a big part of me that envies this new season in your life! May God bless you and your amazing family. All of my love and gratitude for the season of your life that you shared with me!
Laura’s final day is May 25th. Please feel free to drop a note of thanks in the mail to her. She has faithfully and lovingly cared for so many of our patients for more than two decades!
There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all! Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. Proverbs 31: 29-31