My mom is the greatest.
I know that lots of people say that and we can’t all be right, but my mom really is. I think I would even get backed up by many of my friends; anyone who has met her understands.
There is a kind of magic about her that makes you feel like the air around you is giving you a warm hug. Growing up, my parents split when I was 6 and so for a couple of years when my sister and I stayed with my mom it was just us girls. Her apartment only had two bedrooms so logically my sister and I should have shared a room. Maybe it was to avoid us killing each other, or to accommodate my army of stuffed animals but I think my mother gave us separate rooms and slept in the living room because she wanted that for us. Where she lived was a sanctuary from the world and was always the place that felt like my home. Those were the years when I got to learn the most from her.
The story I remember best and that describes her perfectly is the story of the bee. My mother had a small garden out on our second floor porch and one day while watering she came upon a bee. The tiny fuzzy creature was clearly hurt as he was not flying away from the flower but rather resting on it. My sister and I of course flipped out and got upset that there was a yucky bug (and a scary bee no less). My mother scolded us for wanting to kill it and immediately retreated into the kitchen.
After a few minutes of shuffling around she reemerged with a tiny medication dropper. She had filled it with sugar water to feed the injured bee and he seemed to understand that she was there to help.
I don’t remember exactly how long this went on, but I would like to say that it was at least a week or two. Every morning she would rise, fill the dropper and quietly spend time on the porch nursing our bee. One day he grew strong enough to fly away and all I remember is her crying. I’m sure I didn’t understand how to communicate it at the time, but I was in awe of her. She had saved this one life; a life I was so ready to disregard when I first saw it because it was different than me.
Last week in my apartment I walked by a mirror and I noticed a very long squirmy bug in my hair. It had probably come from the hike I had taken with Piper but it was alarming no less. For a brief moment I thought of my options and nearly grabbed a tissue to kill it. I was instantly horrified with myself and walked calmly to my kitchen, pulled out a container and shuffled my new pal into it. When I looked inside I realized why it had looked so big; it was actually two bugs mating in my hair. I smiled to myself and thought of my mother. Knowing her she would probably say something like, “I’m proud of you for not killing those bugs… and aren’t you glad you didn’t interrupt their hot sex?!”
She cares so much about anyone who is suffering that she almost always forgets to take care of herself. For the past year she has been fighting a serious battle with cancer and I have loved being by her side through it. The part of me that wants to be there with her through all of it comes from everything she instilled in me. I am her.
Last week, for the first time in her treatment we received the news that her cancer had shrunk dramatically. While I was on the phone with her I was stunned and speechless. I didn’t know what to say so I fumbled for words like “happy” and “relieved” because they sounded right and I felt I should say something. But the moment we hung up I burst into tears. I fell to my knees and just let it all out. Nothing in this world feels better then genuine tears of joy and I was full of them. I allowed myself the time to weep then I put on some music and danced all by myself. I love her so much and I have been scared.
More than just having a few less bees in it, the world would be worse off without my mom. What she has to offer is rare and beautiful and I am grateful every single day to have her.