Archives for posts with tag: Mothers’ Day

My daughter saw it for the first time. She saw my TRAM scar. She had been very careful to avoid seeing any of my surgery scars especially a year ago, after she saw my very small and tidy scar that runs the circumference of my belly button that was a result of TRAM reconstruction. Seeing that little nothing of a scar was upsetting to her. She is not squeamish. It upset her because as she explained at the time, “They did it to MY mom.”

I was trying on blouses. I had to wear one in the charity fashion show with jeans. My daughter also happened to be trying on clothes and since I have a full length mirror, she was coming in and out of my room.

She happened to walk in when my TRAM scar, which sits about 3 inches below my waist, was exposed. She said, “Mom, your scar! That must hurt!”

The scar is wide; it arcs from one hip to another. I have been told by physicians that it is an incredibly neat scar for a TRAM; my surgeon is extremely skilled. It has faded over a year’s time. But it is still red and the vertical suture marks are quite visible.

I explained, “It doesn’t hurt any more. But yes, it was a big surgery and it hurt a lot at the time. That’s why it was hard to get around and why was home for seven weeks.”

She listened relatively attentively and then went on with what she was doing. This was the longest conversation we have ever had about one of my surgeries. She didn’t run from the room. She didn’t say, “Mom! I don’t want to talk about it!”

When I first had my TRAM surgery, I could not stand upright and I was instructed not to do so for some time to avoid damaging any of the internal or external stitches. I couldn’t laugh for awhile. I could feel my strain of my tissue against the edges of my sutures, which were basically holding me together. It burned like Hell. The same thing happened if I sneezed or coughed.

Currently, I have no evidence of disease. The searing and burning fear of cancer have faded for now along with the physical discomforts and pain. There were times, early on, when my daughter was so anxious about my cancer that she paced like a caged animal.

My daughter is a teen and her life is complicated. Most teens have a lot of emotional tumult in their lives. It is the norm and it is part of the re-organization that takes place that allows them to grow and become independent. I know my daughter’s emotional plate is full without having to worry about her mother. And I hate that. I hate that she has to deal with her mother having had a life threatening illness and that she has to deal with the possibility of recurrence. It’s a loss of innocence; I don’t know if she really appreciates that.

I’ve never been an emotionally perfect mother. I work to be as healthy as I can be. And I can’t expect myself to be a physically perfect mom, either.

The love I have for her, though not perfect, is infinite. I am so happy to be a mother and I am beyond blessed to be the mother of my remarkable girl.

I was walking through the woods and I noticed her out of the corner of my eye. I snapped some photos using my phone and I memorized her location.

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A humming bird sitting on her nest! I was thrilled! I ordered a real camera to take better nature photos. And the next day, I found this.

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An egg! The tiniest egg you could ever imagine. A tiny little package of life.

This was the only view I got of the egg. Here’s a little video of the time she was kind of peeved with me for getting too close to her.

After a couple of days she seemed to get used to me. And she sat on that little egg, day after day. I was thrilled to have a chance to see the miracle of life in the nearby woods. Hummingbirds are small and feisty. And this mama, despite the fact that she has the brain the size of a pea, had the instinct to protect her baby. She knew how to fly around to make herself look larger and to make lots of noise. And she also knew when it was time to quell her own instinct to flee and to stay sitting on that egg.

This is a photo I took on a very rainy day. She sat there with the rain dripping on her head from the little twig above her. I thought it was a good metaphor for a mama’s love.

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Every day or two, I visited the nest. I had done a little research on hummingbirds and learned that the gestation time would be 16-18 days for the egg to hatch. So, not knowing how recently she had laid her egg when I first found her, I expected to see a chick within a couple of weeks. I kept visiting and started feeling a little impatient because day after day, there was no chick.

Then I went to New Orleans for a few days. John and I walked back into the woods the day after our return.

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Still no sign of the chick! It is possible that there was a chick under mama but it had been far longer than 16-18  days! Rip off! Where’s my miracle? Isn’t this a zoo?

Then it happened! A chick, a chick, a chick!!!!!!

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I visited the chick a couple of times. I was planning to keep taking photos of the chick’s growth, the increase in feathers, and how little bird get loud and demanding as they await food from mamas who are scurrying around to get food for a baby who grows to her size.

Today, John and I set out for the woods. It was a breathtakingly beautiful Seattle spring day.

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Nothing. Empty. That chick was still small and homely two days ago. Sometimes nests are empty because a chick has gotten strong and fledged. But other times, they are eaten by a predator or fall from the nest. This chick, whom I’d affectionately called my “grand baby” and who my Facebook friends had fussed over, is dead.

I had been saving my photos for a post on this blog. This is not the post I had in mind. But life is still a miracle and this Mama did her best, as we all do with our children to help them be strong enough to leave us.

Mothers’ Day is typically a very happy day for me. I have a close relationship with my mother, who is a healthy woman. I have a wonderful daughter. But I know that it is a day of loss for many. For those of you who have lost your mothers, who have lost your children, or who wished for children who were never to be, Mothers’ Day has a much different meaning. And then there are those of us who are mothers who understand that we can’t take our own health for granted. We pray that we will be there for our children as long as we can, especially while they are still chicks in the nest.

Life is full of mixed feelings. I hope that at least one of the feelings you experience tomorrow is serenity. If you are a mom who has lost a child, I know you worked to love and protect your children. If you are a daughter who has lost a mother, I know you brought moments of great joy into your mother’s life just by being her child. If you wanted children but it was not meant to be, think of all of the children to whom you have mattered by being a nurturing presence.

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