To my mother

Today is Mother’s Day, so it seems fitting to write about the woman I call Mom. (Actually, I call her “Mommy” because no one ever told me or my siblings that adults usually drop the extra “my“, until it was far too late for us to break that habit.)

This is my mom:

She still pretty much looks like this

I have always had a great relationship with my mom. I am lucky. Growing up, all my friends loved her and wanted to be around her. She was funny and kind of weird, in a good way. She was the “cool” mom. Of course, she embarrassed me from time to time, and still does. As all good mothers should.

My siblings and I are, and always have been, completely spoiled by my mother. There is no denying this. She will always drop whatever she is doing to help us with even the tiniest task. If we realize we are in need of something, she will likely show up with it the next day at our doorstep. She loves making us happy and doing things for us, even when we are all now (somewhat) capable adults. I have never known anyone as selfless as my mother, and I am fairly confident that most people who know her would agree with that statement.

The day I found out about the big fat C, I called my dad and told him to call my mom. I couldn’t stand to tell her myself, to give her that news that no parent expects to hear. To make her world fall apart, yet again, after dealing with so many health crises in my family over the past several years.

In typical mom fashion, she immediately started doing what she does best: taking care of me.

Throughout this whole ordeal, she has been there. Buying me a pretty notebook to bring to my appointments. Buying me an iPad upon realizing I needed way more than a notebook. Bringing us endless amounts of groceries and household supplies. Getting me fancy designer button-down pajamas to make it a little less depressing that I couldn’t raise my arms. Helping me get dressed. Holding my hair back while I threw up in the hospital. Sleeping on my couch after my surgery. Cooking dinner for us when we weren’t able to. Driving me all over the city. Listening to me agonize over decisions that could affect my survival. Rubbing my back and sitting by me while I cried in pain. And even today, bringing me some sort of futuristic cooling pillow to help with the hot flashes that keep me up all night.

My mom took me to one of my chemo treatments a few months ago for the first time. I didn’t think much about it because I had already been several times, and was used to the routine. It wasn’t until after that I thought to myself how strong my mother is. How hard it must be to sit and watch your daughter get hooked up to machines and witness as she slowly gets sick in front of your eyes. I think a lot of people would crumble in that situation. But not my mom. She got me settled, gave me lunch, refilled my water, talked when I wanted to and went silent when I didn’t. She did everything I needed her to do, putting all my needs ahead of hers. As she always has, for the past 28 years.

My mom is truly a wonder woman. It might take Mother’s Day for me to publicly express how wonderful she is. But I hope she knows that I am thankful for her each and every day, and always was, long before this cancer crept into our lives and gave us something new to tackle together.

I love you Mommy.


16 thoughts on “To my mother

  1. Your Mom is beautiful (so are you:))). (Something that helped me a lot with immediate side effects of chemo was fasting a day before and maybe half a day after. You won’t need this information for yourself, but maybe, if someone you know would go through, maybe they can try. But it was really bad anyway 😉

  2. So very beautifully written, Stephanie. I recall your mom being very supportive of me during my own crisis and period of grief. She is truly a mensch (and an impressive balabusta as well). You are both lovely people, who deserve the best – which in this case, is each other.

  3. What a sweet, loving post. 🙂 Although I must say she looks like an older sister, not a mommy!

  4. Stephanie, everything you say is true (duh, of course). Carol’s been family to me since I was 11, and it’s always been sister, not sister-in-law. Whenever I think about, or talk about, a living example of a couple I can use as an example of quality parenting, and a family with children who were raised right and lovingly, I turn to your family and folks. That kind of camaraderie, consideration and respect for one another doesn’t just happen, it is carefully cultivated with much love and attention. Good on you for recognizing your mom’s fine qualities, and for being raised to be the kind of person who feels comfortable and good about putting it out there. Well done, everyone.

  5. The huge amount of love, help, and sensitivity that your mom gave us when when my mom passed away will never be forgotten. That kind of giving can never really be properly acknowledged, and the only way I can thank her is to strive to do the same for someone else one day.
    You mommy is lucky to have a daughter like you!

  6. Steph, you described your Mommy perfectly…..everyone that knows her, loves her too. She is the most selfless person I know and I love her like a sister….If we are half the person that she is, we are lucky….I am writing this through tears, happy tears….BTW, my kids still call me Mommy and I wouldn’t want it any other way!!!

  7. Wow — one day Steph, you too will have the privilege of having a daughter like you. I model my parenting after two amazing women — Ruth and Elaine. They taught me everything. It’s so easy to say “I love” when we throw that term around so easily, as in, “I love this shirt”, but you know how sincere I am and how heartfelt it is when I shout from the rooftops that “I love you”!

  8. Steph, your mom (or mommy–by the way, having spent all of my summers as a child in Canada I am still known as Bobby rather than Bob by all of my wonderful Canadian family; I find being called Bobby very endearing) is all that you describe, one of the loveliest, kindest people Marilyn and I know. And it is obvious that you have her compassion and resilience. What you wrote was truly moving.
    Bobby and Marilyn

  9. She is a remarkable woman. There is a sparkle about her that is hard to explain, but impossible to ignore! Such a nice post, Stephie. You two are lucky to have one another. ❤ (p.s. I remember having that conversation with you, about still calling our parents "mommy" and "daddy"! Hah! Just remember that you're not alone, for some reason no one told any of us it was supposed to stop at a certain point! 😛 It's far too late now!)

  10. She is a pretty, pretty, pretty great lady indeed. All of that AND she took you to Cirque De Soleil? It doesn’t get much better than that 🙂 I love this. I have many great memories of your mom embarrassing us, for sure!

  11. Steph, the words you said about your mom and my first cousin Carol I was so chocked up. Yes your mommy would give her shirt off her back for you and your sibblings as the love and respect she has is so beautiful and very special. All I can say is your mother was always like that even as kids. Your mommy is one of a kind and just for the record Steph I still call my mother mommy and always will. Lots of hugs and xoxox

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