“A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
- Agatha Christie
There are certain times of the year and certain occasions more than others that I find myself emotional over my cancer diagnosis – still now almost 10 years later. Mother’s Day is one those occasions. I think it has something to do with the fact that I heard the words for the first time “you have cancer” in May and also that fact that my overwhelming feelings, emotions and prayers at that time were centered on wanting nothing more than to be around for my three kids. I wanted to be there to see them grow into who they would become, and more importantly to help them get there. As each Mother’s Day passes since my diagnosis, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I have seen my children grow into young adults. I have experienced 10 years and counting of birthdays, Christmas holidays, graduations, proms, first jobs, and learning to drive; 10 years and counting of Mother's Days, of backyard swims, trips to the beach, and so much more.
After I reflect on my own role as Mom, understandably on this day my thoughts go to my own Mother. Of course all the clichés ring true when I think of the woman that gave birth to me. She is loving and kind and thoughtful. She has always supported me and been my biggest cheerleader. She is who I call first when I want to share good news and a soft place to land when things are difficult. Without a doubt I hit the lottery with this woman.
There are a lot of things that you sign up for as a mother: from changing diapers, to sleep deprivation, scraped knees, messy rooms, and sibling fights. You expect a certain amount of emotional turmoil and stress. One thing you never expect to sign up for is having your daughter go through cancer: feeling helpless in the face of your daughter's emotional and physical pain, and facing your greatest fear that you might outlive your child. Watching your grown daughter go through numerous treatments and surgeries for a horrible disease is not something you expect to sign up for. Listening to your daughter talk about her fears of leaving behind her husband and three kids, that is not something you expect to sign up for. But you are a mother, so you do what mothers do.
I can’t even imagine what she went through. For someone who normally cries at the first hint of sentiment or sadness, she did a remarkable job of holding it together when I needed her to. Her strength was amazing. She knew when to smile, when to make me laugh, when to let me cry, and when to just sit together in silence. She knew when to lean in to help, how to talk to the kids, and how to talk to me. And with her strength, and love and wisdom she reminded me that you are never too old to need your mother. To all the mothers out there that have been through a similar experience as mine has - your daughter's thank you.