You may have noticed that I rarely—if ever—do guest posts. Not to mention: my Mothers’ Day posts have been unconventional, to say the least.
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.
Thank YOU, Krissy for the inspiration.