A day for mothers

Today it’s Mother’s Day. And it’s got me thinking.

I am very lucky for my mother. If you know her, you know she is the best. I don’t know where I would be without her (well, not alive, I suppose, but that’s beside the point). I am also very lucky to have an awesome mother-in-law. Whenever I hear stories of impossible mother-in-laws, I think, wow, I really lucked out on that one. So I’ve really hit the mother jackpot.

I’m also thinking about my grandmothers. Both amazing ladies. Both gone too soon. Cancer, and cancer again. I miss them every day, and today a bit more. I have had many examples of strong women in my life, and they have all played their part in shaping who I am today.


I’m also thinking about the pain of this holiday, for so many. Like being single on Valentine’s Day. Only a lot worse.

The pain of all those who have lost their mothers, who are bombarded with marketing messages like “CALL YOUR MOM! TELL YOUR MOM YOU LOVE HER!” and have to confront the sadness of being motherless. We don’t always think about these people on this day, and what it might mean to them. The orphans among us. Heartache instead of flowers.

I’m thinking about all the women out there, having trouble conceiving, desperately wanting to be a mother. My own friend, who was hoping to be a mother on this day, and is not. So many women struggling, undergoing fertility treatments. Trying, trying, trying. What does this day mean for them?

I’m thinking about Naomi, and how she is no longer here to celebrate this day with her adorable little son. I’m thinking about her husband and how this day might make him feel. And all the Mother’s Days they’ll have to face without her, and the sheer unfairness of it all. I’m thinking of how much she loved her son and beamed when she spoke about him, and what an amazing mother she was, for the short time she got to be one.

And, yes, I’m thinking about me. My feelings. I am not a mother. If not for cancer, would I be celebrating my first Mother’s Day as a new mom right now? Possibly. Likely. Will I ever have a Mother’s Day, as a mom? No one can answer that question. The option to have a child, for now, has been taken away from me. Mother’s Day wasn’t made for young women who had cancer. I don’t think Hallmark makes a card for that one.

Happy Mother’s Day. To the many beautiful mothers I am lucky enough to know. To those who are without their moms. And to those of us hanging on to the hope, that one day, this day might mean something different, and might be for us, too.



The taxi diaries

12:15 AM, Friday night, in a taxi

Taxi Driver: Are you coming home from work right now?

Steph: No, I was at a party.

TD: Oh.

S: I’m actually not working right now.

TD: Oh. What did you study in school?

S: English. Not very useful. Do you like your job?

TD: Nope.

S: Oh, that’s too bad. What would you rather be doing?

TD: I used to do something with pharmaceuticals. My old company X is being bought by company Y.

S: Oh yah, I know those companies.

TD: Really?

S: Sure. I’ve taken my share of pharmaceuticals.

TD: You take pharmaceuticals?

S: Not as many now, but a bunch in the past.

TD: Oh, what were you taking them for?

S: Cancer.

TD: WHAT?! Cancer?! Oh my goodness. You are so young!

S: Yepper.

TD: Sorry for asking you about this.

S: It’s fine, I talk about it all the time.

TD: What kind of cancer?

S: Breast cancer.

TD: WHAT?! Breast cancer!!! NO! WHAT?!

The taxi driver turns on his interior light and spins around in his seat to get a better look at the young cancer patient.

TD: Oh my goodness. You are so young! Wow. Wow. Wow.

S: It’s okay. I’m doing fine.

Steph marvels at the fact that she now has to calm down a taxi driver about her having cancer.

TD: So is there some kind of genetic thing?

S: Not that they know of. But my dad had breast cancer, so probably.

TD: Wait, WHAT?! Your dad? You mean he had prostate cancer?

S: No. Breast cancer. Male breast cancer. It’s rare, but it happens.

TD: Oh my goodness. Wow. I can’t believe this. Wow.

S: Yepper. That’s why I have this short hairdo.

Taxi driver spins around in his seat again… while driving.

TD: You had the chemo?!

S: Yep.

TD: Oh my. Gosh. So what are you taking now?

S: Tamoxifen.

TD: Oh, Tamoxifen. Okay. Did they give you antioxidants?

S: Uh, no.

TD: Okay. You have to eat berries. Lots of berries.

S: I eat berries every day.

TD: Good. Doesn’t matter what kind of berry. Black, blue, strawberry. Every day. You have to.

S: Sure.

TD: And tomatoes! Are you eating your tomatoes?

S: Yep. I eat a ton of tomatoes.

TD: But not raw. You have to grill them on the barbecue.

S: Sure thing.

TD: And you have to make sure you eat the seeds inside the tomato. That’s the important part. Every day, you need to eat the seeds.

S: Uh huh.

TD: And the other thing is bananas with milk. Our bodies are full of electricity. Like when you rub a comb on  your hair and it stands up.

S: Static electricity.

TD: Yes! That’s it. We’re all just electricity. So you have to eat the bananas in the milk. Not so many bananas every day. But just one banana with the milk.

S: I eat a lot of bananas so I think I’m good.

TD: Just do all these things and you’ll be fine, I promise. It’s really just about a lifestyle change.

S: Okay, yep, sure, thanks.

The taxi pulls up in front of the house.

TD: I wish you the best of luck.

S: Thank you! I appreciate it.

TD: And I hope to see you soon. Do the things I said and then you’ll see me again and tell me I was right.

S: Sure! Have a good night! BYE!