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.

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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.

 

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.