This year, I was (virtually) introduced to Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, who has written for us the kind of Mother’s Day post that should be read BEFORE the day so that you can ACT on it. And I suggest you do it in time for next Sunday, because any mother who recieves something like this will treasure it all her days.
(Krissy Dietrich Gallagher is a Cleveland mother of two boys, Braedan, 8 and Austin, 5 (who insist on being identified as 8 ½ and 5 ½). In July 2007, at the age of 10 months, Austin was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms tumor, a solid tumor cancer in both kidneys that occurs in a mere 20 children nationwide each year. The Gallaghers were thrust into a world of chemotherapy, hospital stays and four abdominal surgeries before Austin was declared cancer-free eight months later. But after one glorious year, the cancer was back. More chemo, radiation, overnights and enough surgeries to cost him his entire right kidney and half of his left. Today, Austin is a relatively healthy, extremely happy and remarkably normal five-year-old (ahem, 5 ½ year old) despite living with Stage 3 renal failure. He is one of five St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2012Ambassador Kids. The post below was adapted from one Krissy wrote for Mother’s Day 2010, when Austin was still in treatment, on her blog The Luckiest.)
Moms do things selflessly. We sacrifice our free time, our career goals, our neat homes and our hot bodies for the sake of our children. We sometimes do it begrudgingly, but we do it nonetheless. And we rarely get thanked for it, nor do we even expect to. But after watching this 2010 video from Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place and Lift, about the Thank You note that moms really want and deserve from their children on Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but add a few of my own. Of course, I will keep doing all that I do whether I get thanked or not, as will we all, but it sure is nice to imagine….
Thank you, mom, for taking care of me day and night. For holding me and rocking me back to sleep at 3 o’clock in the morning when I’m woken by some stranger taking my blood pressure. Thank you for sleeping with me in my (very narrow) hospital bed even though it means you can’t roll over or you’ll get tangled in my IV lines. And thank you for learning very early on how to silence the IV pump machine when it beeps, usually just as soon as I’ve dozed off to sleep. Thank you for remembering all my medications and making sure I get just the right dose at just the right time of day, and for turning it into a game or a race so it somehow feels fun, like when you take a Tums right along with me before I eat my phosphorous-filled cheesy meals so we can be “Tums buddies.”
Thank you, mom, for always (or at least, often) packing the right lunch and snacks and books and toys to keep me fed and entertained through hour after hour and day after day in the hospital. Thank you for never failing to flush my PICC line every eight hours, even when that eight-hour mark comes at midnight and you’ve just crawled into your warm cozy bed. And speaking of that bed, thank you for scooting over so I can squeeze in between you and dad when I feel scared in the night. Thank you for treating me like a regular kid and letting me climb the rock wall and fall down and get hurt even when my platelets are low and my legs are already covered with purple welts. Thank you for not letting me get away with everything just because I’m sick and for laying the foundation for my future because you fully expect me to have one.
Thank you, mom, for not forgetting about me, your healthy son. Thank you for making sure I always have fun play dates when you’re at Austin’s appointments and for giving me veto power over whose house I go to, no matter how desperate you are. Thank you for emailing my teacher at the last minute so I’m not too surprised by who’s picking me up from school on unexpectedly long hospital days. Thank you, mom, for waking up early to bake homemade bread for the Teacher Appreciation Brunch, even though you have a perfect excuse for not participating in any PTA events. Thank you for running back home to get my library book on library day so I can check out a new one. Thank you for patiently explaining to my kindergarten classmates how cancer is like a weed in a garden and then listening, also patiently, to their endless – and completely unrelated — stories about pulling weeds with their grandmas. Thank you for arranging for friends to secretly take me swimming all summer even though Austin can’t get his PICC line wet. And for sneaking yogurts into my lunchbox so I can eat them away from the watchful and (understandably) jealous eyes of my brother, who follows a ridiculously limited diet. Oh, and speaking of jealous, thank you for listening with respect and not getting too mad when I whine and I say I’m jealous of him because he gets to ride a tricycle around the hospital hallways when I have to go home and go to bed. Thank you, mom, for letting me know that I matter too and for making sure I’m remembered and heard and loved.
And thank you to my mom for always managing to fit in a several-hour visit to the hospital every single day we’re there, no matter how busy you are. Thank you for canceling fancy overseas bike trips with dad so you can both be close by to support us. Thank you for shooing me away from eight-hour blood transfusions and sending me home to shower even if Austin is screaming in your arms as I leave. Thank you for reassuring me that he will be okay in my absence and for always telling me how okay he actually was when I get back. And thank you for valuing my daily workout as much as I do and making sure I have time to go for a run. Thank you for having Braedan sleep over and getting him off to school and making your home feel like his home. Thank you for loving every second you spend with Austin in your arms and for making it seem like I’m giving you a gift when you’re really doing me a favor.
Thank you, mom, for taking care of me when I’m sick.
And thank you, mom, for taking care of me when my brother is sick.
And thank you, my mom, for taking care of me when my son is sick.
I’m sort of sitting here with my jaw hanging open, looking at this list of books I’ve downloaded and read this year. Most of them anyway, I still have a few left to start, but holy hell that’s a lot of books, especially considering that I am supposed to be WRITING books this year.
I’ve alphabetized them by author name so they are grouped by genre and interest, though there’s a disturbing variety in a few of these author’s lists. I did have a few favorites, maybe all-time favorites, and they are The KingKiller Chronicles, Books One and Two. Book three is not written yet, which is putting untold stress on the household as Guy and I are gagging for the last book to be published. DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING LIKE THAT, MAN!
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! (If you’re visual and not a list fan, here they are in my Amazon Store. In case I don’t get around to actually adding links in this massive list—which, considering that the kids are on holiday break—seems probable.)
Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul By Abbott, Karen
American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee By Abbott, Karen
No Time Left (Kindle Single) By Baldacci, David
The Sixth Man By Baldacci, David
The Game By Baxter, Alan, Chesler, Rick, Boving, Nicholas, Holloway, J. Kent, Meikle, William, Nichols, Rick, Sakmyster, David, Steeves, R.P., Wood, David, Ellis, Sean
Possible Side Effects By Burroughs, Augusten
Dry: A Memoir By Burroughs, Augusten
Running with Scissors: A Memoir By Burroughs, Augusten
The Juice Fasting Bible: Discover the Power of an All-Juice Diet to Restore Good Health, Lose Weight and Increase Vitality By Cabot, Sandra
Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets By Calbom MA, John, Calbom MS, Cherie
Stupid and Contagious By Crane, Caprice
Frenemies By Crane, Megan
Micro: A Novel By Crichton, Michael, Preston, Richard
Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda By Darnell, Lorne
As I Lay Dying By Faulkner, William
Bossypants By Fey, Tina
Something Borrowed By Giffin, Emily
The Solomon Effect By Graham, C.S.
The Archangel Project By Graham, C.S.
The Babylonian Codex By Graham, C.S.
Princess Academy By Hale, Shannon
Austenland: A Novel By Hale, Shannon
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef By Hamilton, Gabrielle
The Book of Secrets By Harper, Tom
The Lost Temple By Harper, Tom
Knights Of The Cross (Demetrios Askiates) By Harper, Tom
The Mosaic Of Shadows (Demetrios Askiates) By Harper, Tom
Siege of Heaven By Harper, Tom
The Lazarus Vault By Harper, Tom
Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog (Smashing Magazine Book Series) By Hedengren, Thord Daniel
Scorpia Rising: An Alex Rider Misson By Horowitz, Anthony
Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider) By Horowitz, Anthony
Why Is It Always About You? By Hotchkiss, Sandy, Masterson, James F.
Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic By Howard, David
Queen of New Beginnings By James, Erica
What to Expect When You’re Expected: A Fetus’s Guide to the First Three Trimesters By Javerbaum, David
The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund: A Novel By Kargman, Jill
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and By Kawasaki, Guy
The Lacuna (P.S.) By Kingsolver, Barbara
42 Rules of Marketing: A Funny Practical Guide with the Quick and Easy Steps to Success By Laura Lowell
42 Rules for Working Moms: Practical, Funny Advice for Achieving Work-Life Balance By Laura Lowell
42 Rules of Sensible Investing: A Practical, Entertaining and Educational Guidebook for Personal Investment Strategies By Leon Shirman
Slave: My True Story By Lewis, Damien, Nazer, Mende
Bad Girls By Lieberman M.D., Carole
The Road By Mccarthy, Cormac
Empire of Gold: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
The Cult Of Osiris (Nina Wilde/Eddie Chase 5) By McDermott, Andy
The Tomb of Hercules: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
The Hunt for Atlantis: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
The Pyramid of Doom: A Novel By McDermott, Andy
The Secret of Excalibur: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
The Covenant of Genesis: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
The Sacred Vault: A Novel (Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase) By McDermott, Andy
I Love You And I’m Leaving You Anyway: A Memoir By McMillan, Tracy
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Revised Edition By Miller, Alice
The Night Circus By Morgenstern, Erin
The Naked Ape By Morris, Desmond
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced By Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui
10th Anniversary (Women’s Murder Club) By Patterson, James, Paetro, Maxine
Archimedes to Hawking : Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them By Pickover, Clifford
You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl: Observations on Life from the Shallow End of the Pool By Rivenbark, Celia
The Last Hunter – Pursuit (Book 2 of the Antarktos Saga) By Robinson, Jeremy
BENEATH – A Novel By Robinson, Jeremy
The Didymus Contingency (Origins Edition) By Robinson, Jeremy
Raising the Past (Origins Edition) By Robinson, Jeremy
Antarktos Rising (Origins Edition) By Robinson, Jeremy
Kronos (Origins Edition) By Robinson, Jeremy
The Last Hunter – Descent (Book 1 of the Antarktos Saga) By Robinson, Jeremy
Threshold (Jack Sigler Thriller) By Robinson, Jeremy
Instinct (Jack Sigler Thriller) By Robinson, Jeremy
Pulse (Chess Team Adventure) By Robinson, Jeremy
Callsign: King – Book 1 (A Jack Sigler – Chess Team Novella) By Robinson, Jeremy, Ellis, Sean
Callsign: Rook – Book 1 (A Stan Tremblay – Chess Team Novella) By Robinson, Jeremy, Talbot, Edward G.
Callsign: Queen – Book I (A Zelda Baker – Chess Team Novella) By Robinson, Jeremy, Wood, David
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s By Robison, John Elder
Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers By Robison, John Elder
Subterranean By Rollins, James
Excavation By Rollins, James
Deep Fathom By Rollins, James
Ice Hunt By Rollins, James
Amazonia By Rollins, James
Sandstorm (Sigma Force) By Rollins, James
Map of Bones: A Sigma Force Novel By Rollins, James
The Judas Strain: A Sigma Force Novel By Rollins, James
The Last Oracle: A Sigma Force Novel By Rollins, James
Black Order: A Sigma Force Novel By Rollins, James
The Devil Colony: A Sigma Force Novel By Rollins, James
The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two By Rothfuss, Patrick
The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One By Rothfuss, Patrick
The Pharos Objective By Sakmyster, David
Buried Prey By Sandford, John
Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too By Tomlinson, Shellie Rushing
Shibumi: A Novel By Trevanian
Illumination – How One Woman Made Light of the Darkness By van Buren, Sophia
Infinite Jest: 0 By Wallace, David Foster
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA By Weiner, Tim
Leftovers can be a great way to save your sanity. Getting two (or three) meals from one is a great time and money saver, but nuking last night’s dinner in the microwave isn’t always appetizing. Kim Tracy Prince (House of Prince), Whitney Moss (Rookie Moms) and Renee Ross (Cutie Booty Cakes) discuss their tips and tricks on how to jazz up leftovers. Do you have any creative culinary advice? Head over tofacebook.com/ragusauce to share your story.
Note: This video was produced in partnership with Ragú® and Momversation’s Mom’s the Word on Dinner Program. You can find out more about the program and join in on the conversation at the Ragú® Sauce Facebook page.