Lenya and her mother, Nathan's wedding
Mothers have the magnificent ability to change hurt into hope, especially my own mother. From the moment she heard that something was wrong with my tummy she began planning ways to make it all better. Mikey, the nickname her father gave to her, arrived in Albuquerque three days before my surgery. This morning she departed, after willing me back to wellness and working tirelessly so that my convalescence was comfortable. She also returns with good news. The pathology report came back yesterday. My lymphs, omentum, and estrogen and progesterone uptake systems are all clear. The tumor remained intact, adhering to but not invading into the colon. Yes, I’ll need chemo, but largely as a precautionary measure. Stage 1 cancer is the best worst news a girl could get.
Believe it or not my mom spent all six nights sleeping on a tiny, tough fold-out mattress beside my hospital bed. In the night, we reminisced like school girls--she held my hand to ease the pain, and served as bull dog to keep visitors to a minimum and nurses attentive. The key to a quick recovery? Bring your mother to the hospital! They’ll even taste test the food, which is notoriously worse than airplane fare. She lost six pounds trying to stomach the stuff.
Upon arriving home, she did all the heavy lifting: changing sheets, cooking, cleaning, and keeping up with my new health regiment. We laughed and cried; watched movies and made necklaces; and walked up and down my street for much needed exercise. No one can field phone calls, flower deliveries, or meals like a mom. Don’t get me started with her recipes. The Swedish apple pancakes that she calls “Dutchies” are to die for. Chicken Wellington wrapped in puffed pastry, simply divine.
So today, I move into the next phase of recovery. Flying solo. I’ll admit it, I’m going to cry. Cry because I’ll miss her. Cry because I’m so blessed to have a mother like her in the first place. And cry because the Lord knew what I needed before I was even born. And when I’m done crying, I’ll rejoice for the woman she’s raised me to be and hope that I love as deeply and sacrificially as she does.
Here’s the song of homage she sang to her mother and I now I serenaded it back to her:
M is for the Many things she gave me,
O means only that she’s growing Old.
T is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H is for her Heart of purest gold.
E is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R means Right and Right she’ll always be.
Put them all together, They spell MOTHER.
A word that means the world to me.