To some people the idea of celebrating a “cancerversary,” or the anniversary of the day you became a “survivor,” is silly. But, to someone who is date obsessed, it makes sense to celebrate the victory. It’s not about remembering the bad. It’s all about celebrating the good. The reality of the here and now.
This morning my daughter handed me this letter – typed from her computer by her own hand. I am sharing it – as it was written – with her permission.
I love you with to infinity and back. You are the best mom I could ever ask for and I am so glad that you found the breast cancer early. I could never imagine a life without you. You have always stood by my side, and protected me. Even when I say, or do some stuff, I hope you know that that does not change what I feel towards you. Love. Compassion. You have been my guardian angel in small ways and big. You make sure my shoes don’t get eaten!, you hold me tight and talk me through tough nights, and you are always there for me when I am in pain. When I am in the hospital you are there when I can’t walk, when I cry out in pain, and when too many thoughts come rushing into my head. You have this unique ability to just make people smile, and you are the most pure-hearted person I know. You do for others, even though often you never get a thank you, or some king of acknowledgment. You are kind to a fault. Mom, you have made such a big impact on my life, I would not be me without you. You know what, if I kept going on, it’d be the year 3001! Anyway, back to the point. I love you more than you could know, and I am so grateful to have you as my mom.
I love you mom,
my guardian angel
Really? What more could I want? Except for a LOT more “cancerversaries” to watch her grow up and change the world…
I’ve only been a mother for less than 11 years, but I have been shaped and molded by some of the best around.
At 40+ years old, I can still boast THREE Grandmas that have all been a huge factor in my life.
I have my Mom – my hero.
And, I am friends with some of the best Moms in the business.
Not to mention – I parent a pretty darn smart 10-year-old – who has shared many life lessons with me.
So in honor of Mother’s Day – a most unusual one for me – I thought I’d try to reflect on some things I’ve been taught, and some things I’ve learned all by myself.
1. Motherhood is messy. Despite the best laid plans, no matter how your child, or children have been brought into this world it is a messy job. Things don’t go according to plan. Ever. So stop planning and stick your fingers in the mess of it all. Heck – jump right in and play. Your kids will remember your smile more than your polished table, organized closet or streak free windows. (I’m still working on that one!)
2. Motherhood is exhausting. Just when you think you have it – something will throw you into a new stratosphere. You will be tired for the rest of your natural life. Eat as well as you can. Take care of yourself. Try to give up caffeine. Splurge on under eye concealer. Then get in the car and head to swim practice, doctor’s appointments, shopping, therapy. While you are in the car – TALK. Children in the car are a captive audience. You can have some of your most important conversations there. Plus – it’s illegal to text and drive.
3. Motherhood is different for everyone. Comparisons are just not a good idea. As a matter of fact – make a habit of NOT comparing. There is no need to justify having one child, or claim you’re more exhausted with three. Each one, however the child became yours is a gift to be cherished. They are not potato chips, and having one doesn’t make it “easy” any more than having 3 or 4 makes it “hard.” Avoid telling anyone how much tougher it is to have a boy, or a girl. Avoid generalizing and making excuses. Just love your child.
4. Motherhood involves paying attention. Stop texting. Put down your cell phone. LISTEN to them. TALK to them. You may be very impressed by what they have to say if you get to know them.
5. Children are unique. Let them learn early to embrace their individuality. Create an atmosphere of unconditional love. Build their confidence, and keep them grounded enough not to become arrogant. Develop gracious losers, and equally gracious winners.
6. Motherhood is like being on stage. All day. All the time. And they watch EVERY thing you do. If you wonder how they learned that habit – good or bad – look at yourself. They want to be just like you. And chances are good they will. BE someone you want them to be.
7. Motherhood involves worry in a way you’ve never ever thought of before. That little heart beating outside of your body – no matter how old they become – will always and forever be more important than your own. You will worry about sniffles, and scraped knees, and heartache, and doctor’s appointments, and surgery, and pain, and healing. You will worry about doing too much, and doing too little.
8. No matter what you do, and how hard you try, you’ll never have it quite right. So always do the best you can with what you have where you are. That way you can rest your head peacefully every night.
9. Teach compassion. They won’t learn it unless you do. Teach them that “everyone has something.” No matter where you go or what you do or who you meet each day – EVERYONE is struggling with something. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, financial, greet every person with the knowledge they are bearing a burden. Try to frame all of your interactions with everyone around that knowledge.
10. Motherhood involves NEVER GIVING UP! Tenacity like you never imagined is necessary to do it well. When they are down and out and done, look at them and reassure them. Hold them. Support them. Forgive them. Love them with all your heart. The returns you get on the best investment of your life are immeasurable.
So as we sit tonight in the hospital, waiting, wondering, and worrying – we are still thankful. We have so many blessings in our lives.
Take a look at some of the women who helped make me who I am today – and enjoy what’s left of your Mother’s Day.