Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do we ever get too old to need our mothers?


I was doubled over the toilet recently being sick for the third time in twenty minutes, when I realized something … I wanted my mother. It wasn’t like I’d never been sick before, but something felt just a little scary this time. So what if I was 54 years old, does the statute of limitations run out on being mothered?

My parents live with me, which makes it easier for me to take care of them as they have multiple health issues. Over time, it seems, I have become the parent in this relationship. I take them to medical appointments, I control medication, and I worry about changes in their condition.

But now it was about me. As I recovered from my third visit to the toilet bowl, I grabbed my trusty Blackberry and dialled the home line downstairs. My mother picked up the phone and I suddenly started to cry and blurted out “I’m being sick, come upstairs please”. I didn’t even hear her hang up the phone and she was upstairs beside me. She got a cold wet facecloth and pressed it against my fevered forehead and immediately took charge. She asked pointed questions trying to determine the onset of my illness and possible cause.

Over the next two hours I made multiple trips to the toilet bowl and by the end I was as weak as a kitten and could hardly make it back to my bed. As I lay spent and sore, she tried to entice me with Ginger Ale and Camomile tea, having success with neither. I tried to sleep but was unable to. She lay down next to me on my bed and began regaling me with an account of the baseball game she had been watching when I phoned her. As she spoke, I remembered back to November 2002 when I had surgery and she helped me get in the shower one day. When I thanked her for being there to help, she prophetically said “Maybe someday I will be sick and you will have to take care of me”. Less than two months later she was diagnosed with cancer. Our roles reversed that day and I cared for her through radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and a blood clot. My once invincible mother had become mortal.

Seven years later, she still has more energy than anyone else in our family. Despite ongoing medical issues with an ulcer that simply will not heal there is no stopping her. In her spare time she knits and crochets beautiful baby items which she sells to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society and come June 11 she will be the centre of our Relay team when we participate in our sixth Relay for Life.

I’m a grown woman, financially independent, mature, confident, but when I’m doubled over a toilet bowl being sick, I am still my mother’s little girl and I’m not afraid to need her touch.

                                          Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

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