Monthly Archives: May 2017

A Very Special Mother’s Day

Have you ever met someone so unassumingly tough that when they demonstrate their power and might your jaw hits the floor?  That’s how I feel about my mom.  I’ve penned a few blog posts about my mother over the years, so this statement may not come as a shock to many of you.  I, however, continue to be amazed by this gutsy octogenarian’s exploits.

Shortly after her 86th birthday this past January, my mom was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma (lung cancer).  I don’t think this was truly a shock to anyone.  A former tobacco smoker, my mom has emphysema and a history of severe bouts of pneumonia.  The ultimate diagnosis, however, was perhaps more devastating to me than to my mom.  When I questioned her as to how she felt following the initial diagnosis, my mom said, “It’s going to be what it is.  If Saint Peter opens the gates for me, then I’m ready.”  That peace—her peace—became my peace.  There was no other way for me to accept the circumstances at hand.

So, here we are four months later, and my mom just completed her prescribed round of chemotherapy yesterday, May 11th.  Additionally, she began radiation treatments—a prescribed course of thirty treatments to take place twice daily over the course of fifteen weekdays.  The first two days of radiation piggybacked her final two days (6 hours and 2 hours, respectively) of chemotherapy.  I don’t know about you, but this schedule is daunting to even me.  But you know what—my mother handled it like Muhammad Ali handled Sonny Liston.  I am awestruck.

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Something and someone else I need to make mention of in this Mother’s Day tribute is my sister, Karen.  She has been a steadfast anchor for my mom for not only the past few months, but for years.  She is there, day in and day out, meeting what needs my proud mother sees fitting to share.  As a matter of course, she has always been there to tend the flowers and lawn in summer and snow-covered driveway in winter as well as all needs that fall outside of my strong (feisty) mother’s capabilities in seasons between. But since my mother’s cancer diagnosis, my sister’s responsibilities have grown exponentially.  She is the keeper of myriad appointments, the sole source of transportation to and from the many appointments, and the general caretaker of all things beyond my mother’s abilities.  Don’t misconstrue this, however.  I am certainly not insinuating my mother is incapable, because she absolutely is not, which amazes me, but I digress…

So, as we approach this Mother’s Day, I’m giving my biggest, loudest shout out to my mom for her continued desire, willingness and ability to kick ass.  (Yes, I cursed; butt just didn’t sound as effective.  #eyeroll)  Happy Mother’s Day, mom.  You are amazing!  You’ve put forth enormous (literally and figuratively) shoes to fill.  I hope to leave this life one day as a fraction of the woman and mother you are.

Unless…

This.  This photo right here.  You have no idea what this photo represents to G and me.  

Unless you have a child who has difficulties interpreting and comprehending the subtle nuances of social interaction, you more than likely don’t understand the magnitude of this photo.  Unless you have a child who doesn’t “get” the give and take of social interaction, this photo probably seems mundane.  Unless you have a child who doesn’t have a single real and true friend, you most likely don’t grasp the overall import of the seemingly simple interaction depicted in this photo.  Unless you have a child who comes home from school in tears, sobbing that his classmates think he’s the dumbest kid in his class and ostracize him from much of the day’s classroom and playground interactions, you can’t possibly comprehend the joy this photo brings to two concerned parents.   Unless your child pleads with you to “find a friend” for him, you can’t possibly understand how this photo shatters two parents’ hearts into a million tiny shards. 

A friend is something most of us take for granted, yet is so very vital to our complete wellbeing.  We were created to be social creatures.  When that simple, yet necessary component is lacking in our lives we are incomplete.  It’s a vacancy we feel in our soul.  And when you try your very best, oftentimes forcing the situation, the rejection can be gut wrenchingly debilitating.  

This weekend we had the pleasure of spending Friday evening in the company of a family we’ve been promising to have over for dinner for years.  They’re a family we instantly connected with at the skatepark years ago–G with the father, J-man with the son, and I with the mom.  Yet, as life oftentimes does, it got in the way of the six of us getting together.  Yes, G and I had a wonderful time conversing and laughing with “N’s” parents Friday night, but the highlight of the evening was how J-man and “N” related and interacted.  It was a beautiful sight to behold, stopping G and me in our tracks time and again throughout the evening.

Sunday, while out on our 52-mile pedalabout, I received a text from “N’s” mom stating he wouldn’t stop asking when he could see J-man again.  I replied, telling her we’d be back by one o’clock and he was welcome to come over.  The two boys again connected instantly.  They picked up where they left off, engaging in NERF wars, sword fights and playing Minecraft.  Even the video game had serious interaction–communication, teamwork, instructing and encouraging one another and trash talking.  I was in HEAVEN! 

I’m a firm believer in the adage it’s the little things in life that make life so very rich.  This photo is proof of that belief.  Thank you, God, for answered prayers. 

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. ~Hubert H. Humphrey