This year, Mother's Day has a deeper meaning, perhaps, than it has in the past.
A year ago, we knew something was going on with Mom's health, but we were furiously avoiding the c-word. But after a few hospital stays for blood transfusions, and many tests, colon cancer was found, and last summer, we put on our Fightin' Pants and got going.
Mom doesn't complain a lot, and when she does have a moment of self-pity, she apologizes to me. I just scoff and say, "Mom, you've got World War Three going on in your body, with all that chemo," and remind her that an occasional woe-is-me moment is allowed in all of this. It's been a long battle for her, and while we've faithfully stood by her through it, I know Dad and I can't truly understand how it feels.
I'll be 40 this summer, and if you count the gestation period when I was growing in Mom's uterus, I've known her over 40 years now. And she has known me. She knew me before she gave birth to me--the tiny heartbeat, the kicks and bumps and sitting on her bladder in the middle of a hot Nebraska summer. And God, how she wanted me. I've never doubted that. Mothers and daughters have their ups and downs, and some mothers and daughters have troubled relationships...but this mother and daughter are so lucky to be friends, especially now that I am an adult.
Mom thanks me for the little things I do these days--helping her out, helping Dad out, etc. I don't feel like I owe them anything, and I also don't feel like thanks are necessary (appreciated, of course, but not necessary--they're my parents, and I help them because I love them). When she starts thanking me for something I'm totally happy to do, I just smile and say, "How many diapers, Mom?"
She always stops, and smiles back. "A lot of diapers. But I loved it."
Well Mom, I love being able to help you.
It hasn't been easy to watch Mom suffer the indignities and discomforts of chemo. I hate that it makes her miserable, and tired. But I know that it is also making her better--her last scan showed us very good news--so we live with it. Mom bears it, because it's helping. Dad and I hold her up, because that's what you do for the people you love.
And on Mother's Day, I appreciate, so much, that she's here, that she's in good spirits, and that she's mine.