Mother’s Day

May 15, 2006 at 9:28 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It’s supposed to be a day to give thanks to mothers for all they do. I had a parallel response. I felt so grateful to my two-year old son Andrew for coming into my life that it hurt to breathe at times. Andrew keeps me sane; Andrew keeps me feeling alive; Andrew keeps the world in focus.

I should caveat this by mentioning that on the eve of Mother’s Day, Andrew had a typical night’s sleep. This involved awakening in his room around 2 AM and calling out, “Mommy, are you there?” After I hollered back and reassured him that it’s sleepy time and yes, I’m always right across the hall, he drifted back to sleep. An hour later, he bellowed out his latest request: “Daddy, come take my water cup out of my hand,” which is a new low (albeit one heavily laden with disturbing Biblical images in the “Father, let this cup pass from me” vein) in our ongoing “I’m thirsty” wars that every parent experiences. Daddy, who will also appear in this blog as my husband, Jay, refused to budge and encouraged Andrew to “just put the cup down.” (Wow. Just imagine how different things would be if the original exchange had gone down like that.) Somehow, Jay managed not to modify his response with the four letter adjectives I was imagining, and after a few sobs and quavering “pleases,” Andrew slept again. He must have toddled across the hall and into our bed without waking us because he shook me out of a dream around 7 AM to announce, “I’m poopy.” Needless to say, Andrew does not keep me sane at those moments.

All grousing aside, Andrew makes life worth living and he makes it imperative that I keep on living. This gets to the heart of why I am writing this blog. I am one of the millions of mothers with a chronic illness. Mine is called sarcoidosis, which no one has ever heard of (including me, pre-diagnosis). But there are infinite rolls of women with cancer and lupus and MS and God only knows what else, who want nothing more keenly than the privilege of watching their children grow–and the energy to enjoy it.

So, why, oh audience of three or four, am I writing this? Well, I am that self-centered. I’m ashamed to say it, but I do think that my experiences can be meaningful to others. I got sick at almost the exact moment that I became a mother, and I believe I’ve learned a hell of a lot about both these states of being because of their close proximity. I like to think of it as the X-Treme version of motherhood. Can’t you just see me catching Big Air on ESPN2? It goes something like this. I’ve had a doctor tell me, in his warped version of giving comfort, “This is what is going to kill you. But don’t worry. It probably won’t in the next ten years.” And I’ve calculated where Andrew will be in the ten years, and I’ve wept furiously and bitterly on the drive home. Then, I’ve wiped my eyes, reclaimed my beautiful boy from the babysitter, and taken him to the park.

I know how lonely and weird this dichotomy can make a person feel. But I also know how thankful I am for every day I have with Andrew. He grounds me.  I think it gives me perspective, or at least a perspective.  And I’d like to share it with you.

3 Comments

  1. Your Mom said,

    Hello,

    You have me crying dearest daughter. Mom

  2. Nedra said,

    Dear Rebecca this writing is such a pleasure to read, so evocative and, yes you know I cry easily, so it won’t surprise you this made me cry too. God DAMN it all to hell these things that come up and trash our plans to live easily and comfortably.

    some images that stand out somehow — I picked up my son and took him to the park; sitting on the table in Dr. P’s office (ugh! help!) driving to Billings trying to make deals with God, and somehow, oh so humanly, and gracefully accepting this crazy situation wondering if sudden death is today or in 10 years or what, accepting the effects of prednisone without ending up in Warm Springs in a strait jacket (jesus, congratulations, you’ve ALREADY won the prize! you are mothering Andrew, writing, being a partner to Jay, being a friend, you already outperformed most mere humans.) Anyway, I don’t know you well enough to tell you I love you, but as a gusher, I’ll tell you that anyway. And this is my very first visit to any blog any time, so thanks for demystifying THAT mystery. I’ll call you when my life stabilizes, or doesn’t. Love, Nedra

  3. mcoady said,

    Hi Becky,

    By coincidence I just finished a column on this very topic that may be of interest to you. It’s about a mother of 4 who raised her children with the help of a devoted husband while suffering from the debilitating after effects of a stroke at age 35. Both were World War II vets so it is my Memorial Day column. I’ll send it along.

    Also I wanted to let you know that I was recently diagnosed with postherpatic neuralgia so I understand some of what what you are going through. Seems we came together initially for a reason and once again our paths cross in understanding.

    Love to you, Jay and Sweet Andrew,

    Marie Coady

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