Mother’s Day, considered a holiday by some and for others, it is a marketing ploy to spend more money. I try not to have expectations surrounding the day, yet deep down, I hope it is filled with accolades and sweet gifts and most of all praise on how I have this mother-thing down pat. After all, I learned from the best teacher out there. In honor of the woman who I have the privilege of calling Mom, my husband and I brought back to her house take out from my mother’s restaurant of choice. My son didn’t join us as he is still away at college, and me thinks he is enjoying it a little too much, but that’s another story all together. Flowers, cards, hugs and kisses were extra special this year as the act of wrapping my arms around my mom was taboo until we were both vaccinated. I never needed to be reminded of how amazing or share my thoughts with her because of a date on the calendar yet this Mother’s Day became very important as I have to acknowledge how lucky I am that my mom is still here, fighting the cancer fight and know each day is a gift worthy of celebration.
Growing up, my mom never made a big deal about Mother’s Day, always saying it’s “a Hallmark holiday”, or “celebrate me any other day”. I try to follow her lead, albeit unsuccessfully, as I love the adoration given to me on Mother’s Day. This year though has been filled with many ups and downs that I thought it should be celebrated. As such, I subsequently planned an extraordinarily different Mother-Daughter day to experience together. The night before our special outing, my mom called to remind me of appropriate attire for the next day.
The day started before dawn and as I left my house, I could see the sun trying to peek out of the cloudy sky. After a night of heavy rain and a restless sleep, the sun and I were desperate for a bright day. Thankfully by the time I got on the highway, the rain had cleared and the morning light was coming up. I pulled up into my mom’s driveway and was greeted with my mother’s cheerful and beautiful voice, something I never take for granted. Truth be told, one of my greatest joys is hearing my mom’s voice every morning.
“Good morning Love, are you ready for today?” she said as she got into my car.
“I am, are you?” I replied.
“I am always ready” she said.
“Then let’s get to it”
We buckled up and headed off for our engagements.
“What time are they taking you?”
“7:20” I said.
“Me too” she smiled.
“You know, I planned it that way.” I said, returning the smile.
We were showered with matching stickers and yellow bracelets. It was as if we were twinning and that was just the beginning or our special time together. We were beyond just mother and daughter bonding and circumstances. We were fellow troopers.
“I’ll meet you back here after” she said as her buzzer chimed and blinked to life. The all too familiar ding meant that they were ready for her. Within 5 minutes, my buzzer sprang to life and I followed in her footsteps behind the door, where I was greeted with pleasantries. This was the first time I was allowed back behind this door, a world unknown to me until today.
We were both getting blood tests. Her blood test was to see how well the latest treatment was going, me for preliminary bloodwork for a procedure I am scheduled for later in the week.
The smiling nurse greeted me with pleasantries and as I approached her work station, I noticed the paper flowers traveling up the wall and my eyes settled upon a beautiful bouquet affixed on the wall. I would imagine that the phlebotomist must need something to keep her spirits up, taking blood to numerous patients every day at the hospital. I focused on the intricate cuts of the paper, avoiding the pin prick and it filled me with hope, seeing something so beautiful in an otherwise difficult and emotional work environment.
Our rendezvous continued immediately following our first engagement.
“How’d you do?” she asked.
“Fine, how about you?” I inquired.
“After all the blood I've given, it's amazing I still have some to give, so that’s good.” She replied.
We briefly parted ways for me to have an MRI in another building and then we reunited in Radiology lobby for our Mother-Daughter CT Scans. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined spending several hours at Duke Medical Pavilion where both of us are being treated, yet relished the time together, being able to share the time with my mom. In the call the night before, my mom gave me tips on how to dress for the MRI and CT scans and to not wear any jewelry, as she is the pro, being familiar with the surrounding walls, procedures and personnel. Throughout her cancer journey, she is still taking care of me, concerned for my welfare and offering up useful advice.
“It’s good to see you,” said the nurse.
“It’s good to be seen” my mom replied with all sincerity as she checked in at the next station.
She was called in, she said to me "I’ll meet you by the fireplace" and she walked off into her next appointment. While her stride isn’t as fast as it once was, nor is she as steady on her feet, she still walks with tremendous purpose. She remains a powerful force and continues to be my inspiration as my stride, gait and ability of walking has been impacted since I clumsily fell off a ladder, injuring my back while trying to hang outdoor lighting in my backyard.
The symbiotic relationship of mother and daughter has flipped once again, and she was the one sitting waiting patiently for me. Without complaint, she sat by the fireplace in the lobby, listening to the piano player strumming a soothing song, reading the paper and finishing up the crossword puzzle. When I was all finished with my tests and walked over to greet her, she looked up, smiled enthusiastically and said “Let’s get out of here”.
We walked out of the medical pavilion together arm in arm, supporting one another; she with her cane and me in my back brace, walking slowly to the parking lot. Our Mother-Daughter Day was like no other and wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Thank you, Mom. You continue to be supportive and by my side, every step of the way.