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Archive for May 9th, 2004

My Mom, Lucky Me

Sunday, May 9th, 2004

Mom wearing stole I knit for herToday is Mother’s day. My mom and I had to grow until we could see each other as we really are, and appreciate one another. We had just started to have this new relationship about eight years ago… just before Brian and I got engaged… the same time she was diagnosed with cancer.

Mom went through her chemotherapy during the time Brian and I planned our wedding. I was very distracted by the nerves of planning a huge party for a large group of people I barely knew (Brian’s family is vast and mine is absolutely tiny). I was not very available to Mom during that time.

She was so thrilled with Brian and our impending marriage, I wonder how much that helped her stay focused on things other than her illness. I can’t help but think it was good medicine to know her only daughter was finally happy and being treated very well. So maybe even though I didn’t take her to any doctor’s appointments, maybe just being engaged was help to her during that hard time.

So now it is 7.5 years since our marriage. Mom has been done with her chemo treatments since just after the wedding. Her tests consistently come back as having no sign whatsoever of any recurrance of the cancer. Every time she has a birthday we celebrate that she’s been here on this earth one more year. But the truth is, she’s not just here… she is seizing each day with an enthusiasm that many people never know. That has always been her style, as far back as I can remember. She knows every day is a gift and always has. (Actually, she was born prematurely in a rural town in Minnesota, and the doctors did not expect her to live at all, so every day has truly been a gift for her.)

She just won the volunteer of the year award at her school in Florida. Her passion is to help kids who are falling behind, how to recognize the letters of the alphabet and prepare them for basic reading tasks and other basics (like how many pennies are the same as one dime).

Best yet, Mom has been dancing like a crazy woman (the good kind of crazy, of course) and winning ballroom dance medals left and right, with her partner, Fred. They did the jitterbug so well, Fred even pulls her through his legs still, something couples twenty years younger than they are, do not try to do. I’m not sure how many awards they won, but they got medals of Gold, Silver, and Bronze, ad I think they got at least 2 in each of those.

Mom also won a few other medals in some other events (this is the senior games in Polk County, Florida). In fact, she won the prize for more points than anyone else in her age category this year.

I’m so proud of her for that. She loves to dance, has always loved dancing and music. My father was not a very good dancer. He would go out there and try to mess her up, dancing incorrectly sometimes on purpose, and she could follow almost anything he could throw her way. He did love her very much, but I know she sometimes wished she had a dance partner that was up to her caliber. Fred is that sort of partner, and I’m happy for them.

Today I worked at JoAnn all day. I called Mom before I went to work. She decided she wanted a Mother’s day hug, so she came over to the store and waited until I was between customers for me to come over and give her as big a hug as I could in a tiny bit of time. Tomorrow I am taking her to lunch at the Coral Gables restaurant, a favorite haunt for many years (they cook a lot of their food from scratch, it’s a quality place at a good price, and Mom often knows other customers there which makes her happy).

But today I count my blessings, that I have my mom. That she’s here and happy and healthy. And pretty. Everyone mentions how pretty she is (just look at her lovely hair, in the second picture here… she was dancing with me and another Habibi Dancer last October). Mom and I are both very small people. I look a bit more like her sister than I do her, and I have my Daddy’s eyes, but mom and I both move alike. We both are dancers. We both are singers. We both integrate artfulness into our everyday lives. Last night at Banjorama I had a hard time sitting still to the music, and I knew Mom would have had the same challenge.

I remember when I was a child and Mom had ironing to do (she did not enjoy domestic chores… we’re alike there as well), she would put on a record pretty loud, and dance as she ironed. I’m a lot like that, though I almost never need to iron. Some of the music she listened to those days, is music we sang at the jam session after the concert on Saturday. Both my parents passed the love of music to me, and I’m really reaping the benefits of that, in very visible ways, right now.

Mom, you are one cool woman! Happy Mom’s day!