You looked relieved when the doctor handed me your 8 pound daughter. Her small pink, blood-smeared body wiggled and squirmed as I headed out the door to the nurse who would weigh her, measure her and pinch her skin. I returned to find you hovering over a cereal bowl and grinning because you could drink tea again.
Each day, as that little girl grew, you played, nurtured and loved her as if nothing else, or no one else, mattered. Each night, you read her to sleep, a habit that serves her to this day as she consumes a veritable library of books. You’re proud of her accomplishments and all her academic milestones.
You dressed her as if she were royalty, never taking time to fit something for yourself. You scrubbed her and cleaned her as if she was a fine diamond, taught her manners and did not tolerate sloppiness. You traveled miles so she could partake in anything she wanted. You were, and are, always there for her, watching, hoping for the best. And when she left for college, you cried because you thought she would never return.
You worried that you were not a good mother and that some day your daughter would forget you. You followed her for what seems to be your whole life. Now, you face a late-stage incurable disease, but your first thought is of your daughter. You’re glad you spent all those hours with her. There is no remorse for the path you took. Today you ask yourself, what of her pain? Will she forget me when I’m gone? No denial or anger on your part; just acceptance– acceptance and the willingness to fight– fight for each day and more.
Yesterday, you sat and thought how much you wanted her here with you on Mother’s Day, but you know she’s a young woman with a busy schedule and much responsibility. You tell yourself you understand when really you’re not sure. What you didn’t know is that later that afternoon when you walked into the kitchen, she would be standing there. Your quivering chin and tears tell the tale. You are still in awe of the daughter you wrought. She hugs you and tells you she wanted to be with you on Mother’s Day. She will never forget you and will always be with you.
Happy Mother’s Day . . .