On May 1 My Mom became very sick. It started with a typical infection that was treated with a cocktail of antibiotics which led to acute liver damage. My initial reaction was to use humor to deal….then, with the end of the school year approaching, I used my super power of hyper focus to push through the end of the year to ensure that my children and students finished strong….when the humor dried up and the schedule freed up she still wasn’t better…she was worse. There still were not clear answers. I stayed with her in the hospital a few nights, but I still didn’t feel the situation. I focused on what I could do because I like to do, I like to be useful and I like to remedy a situation. I communicated with family and I took impeccable notes from the doctor.
I…I….I…. I tried… I did…. I wanted to… I asked… I kept myself at an arm’s reach of the situation. Finally, I prayed. It felt awkward sometimes and forced. And, it wasn’t because I wanted to it was because SHE asked me to. I thought I was helping her, but you see this all came at a difficult time for me in life and even though I thought I was the one helping her I was so focused on myself that I didn’t see that once again she was helping me.
My Mom is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met…she accepts people and can deliver shocks of disappointment that stay with you for ever. She doesn’t seem powerful at a petite 5’2” and often times strangers stop and tell her their life story because she makes them feel so comfortable. I’ve always felt privileged to be her daughter because she throws a life lesson at you in the parking lot over a parking spot. She has taught me to value the undervalued. To smile and give in the difficult time. That nothing is permanent. That everyone is fighting a battle. That the truth is the most important. That unconditional love never gives up. That you show up even when it isn’t convenient. That you protect people. She does all of this in the most humble of ways. I have seen her speak and entertain Generals and their wives, throw together the most beautiful Coffee’s and Hail and Farewells, be there for the young wife who is struggling to be married to a soldier; she is incredible in her efficiency, kindness, and comfort. I know that when she reads this that she will not agree, but when people who know her read it that will. She has no idea of her power…which is endearing and frustrating all at once. She tells me that she believes in me and that she is proud of me….even when I feel like a big fat failure or unsure of my steps. Her favorite line is “Well I don’t know pray about it…what does God want you to do.” To hear her tell this story she would say that I have done so much for her, that I have been there for her and helped her. She would build me up so tall that you would think that I found a cure. That’s what she does.. That’s how she is. It is also untrue. I’ve untwisted a few Powerade lids and learned to cook cabbage. (It’s much better in the oven than in boiling water.) But, not much more.
For traveling purposes, she has stayed with me for the past ten days. As God has shown me in the last couple of years His purpose is so much greater and different than our purpose. She hasn’t been able to do much. No pedicures, no shopping at The Flea Market, zero decorating, she won’t go for a massage, no long talks, none of that. She has really been a bit of a blob….she doesn’t feel well enough to do anything. Sitting still is not my strength. Not solving problems isn’t my strength. It has been torture and frustrating to just watch her sit, rest and lose weight. I’ve read and read and thought up ideas that may make her feel better. Then, I came across an article called Holding Space. It is about just being there for someone you love without judgment or pushing. (Not my strong suits either) Okay! Now I had something to do….I would just be there. Between, my work and family obligations I haven’t been next to her as much as my heart desires, but I have been here. We Netflixed and chilled on the show Parenthood, we sat outside…we did all of the same things from the last 9 days but I softened my pushing. I felt good about my approach.
Then, last night it hit me. I am not her holding space. She is mine.
In this part of my life I have struggled a bit. As most of us do in raising kids, working and keeping a marriage and multiple businesses together. There isn’t a magic wand to fix anything. It isn’t so terrible at all. I feel very blessed and lucky. I am just being real though….life is hard. Once again, without fail My Mom has been here for me. Asking me in the morning to read the devotional, asking me to pray for her, encouraging me, speaking life into my confidence. I don’t know how she does it, but she always does. She always makes my life better and makes me stronger. Even when she is sick. Even when she is scared. Even when she is orange. (Sorry, I had too…)
Life just flat out sucks sometimes. Life doesn’t make sense at all. I don’t understand so much. But, I do know that the love that I have from my mom is a gift and a beautiful model to follow. I am so thankful for her help over the last 10 days, for her wisdom and for her just being here as a holding space for me. Thank you, Mom, for this season. I type this through tears of guilt because you have no idea how much you do and how much I love you.
The next time I write about you I want it to be chronicling our girls trip to anywhere. I love you. You are stronger than you know.