I missed out on Mother's Day 2010 by a few weeks, very heavily pregnant with Jack, developing a lovely case of PUPPS, and just trying to get a few hours sleep a night through the heartburn, so this is my third Mother's Day. And as with everything, its meaning has changed for me. Again, I will NEVER be one of those people who say I'm so happy I got cancer, it changed my life...because, umm, hello, yes, it changed my life but I could do without that, thanks. I will admit it changed my perspective though. Now, don't get me wrong, I would love to get the mixer I've always wanted and promised myself, or maybe the ring I've been coveting for 10 years now, a surprise getaway, or hell, a card and some flowers would be spiffy. Okay, so I still have mortal wants and desires, cancer doesn't make you a saint people, but overall, while some mothers are out there bemoaning their lack of gifts or time to sleep in or breakfast in bed, I am content with the sheer existence of the fact that I'm here and I'm privileged to get to mother these kids. God willing, I get to spend many more mother's days with them, ingesting the fact that I have had another year to know them, for them to know me. When I was still in the "fog of war" right after my diagnosis, when I was walking around with the 1,000 yard stare, one of the first things that scared me terribly, one of the first things that I cried to my husband was not about me per se, but I sat there looking at him, pleading with him, that "I can't leave Jack, he doesn't even know me yet." The tears flow just thinking about that, because I can relive that moment all too clearly in my mind.
While I strongly believe now that I will be around for a while, I am assured of the fact that no one, not any one of us, knows what is going to happen, and that anything could happen at anytime, which is why I am still compelled to write these things. And I'm also here to reflect on and acknowledge the fact that my kids have endured a pretty shitty year themselves. For this, I have more unwarranted guilt than most can imagine.
Baby, I'm so sorry for this past year. I'm sorry that I got sick, I'm sorry that sometimes I was very sad and you didn't understand. I'm glad you didn't understand. I'm sorry that sometimes I got short with you, and it was not your fault - I was scared or sad or worried or tired and sometimes I am ashamed to say I yelled at you louder than I should have, or got mad at you for things I shouldn't have. I'm sorry that I couldn't play with you as much as I wanted, after two surgeries and chemo and radiation and a new baby. I'm sorry we couldn't do all of the cool and fun things that I have "pinned" for us to do. I'm sorry you got cheated out of a normal Halloween and Christmas. I'm sorry for this whole year.
You have been amazing through all of this, and you are a wonder to me. A year that would have been enough change for you just with your sister arriving, when just navigating the world of being 2 is hard enough, you had to deal with all of mama's crap too.
I pray you will not remember much of this year, that you will remember the 95% good and forget the 5% bad that keeps me up at night, and I pray we will never have to relive it. You don't know how much I look forward to watching you grow, how much the thought of you developing into a little man more and more each day gives me reasons... reasons for so many things.
My little girl, who I don't even really know yet, yet have known forever. My little mini-me. You surely did not ask for this, to be subjected to tests and poking and prodding and toxic poisons before you were even born. But you, my amazing, stunning little beauty came through with flying colors. I think all of our doctors knew you would be fine, they were all pulling for both of us so very much. But when I was in the prep room before going to the operating room to have you, the one nurse came in, and she, not knowing us, started listing all of the myriad things that may be wrong with you, insinuating that I should expect them to immediately whisk you away, terrifying me since up until then everyone was completely optimistic that you would likely need no intervention. She reiterated that the entire NICU team would be in the delivery room, waiting to pounce on you. Well, she didn't know you did she? You came out screaming and bright and pink and BIG for 35 weeks and 5 days. And you needed no help at all, as I knew you wouldn't. Everyone in that room was so happy, for both of us. I am so privileged that you chose me, even with all you had to go through to get here. I am so very eager to witness who you become. And also to see you grow into all of that tulle I have for you. :) Again, even though I didn't know it, you were exactly what mama needed.
To both of you, thank you - thank you for choosing me to be your mother, thank you for your resiliency and forgiveness, thank you for letting me into your world, thank you for bringing amazement to my world. No matter what happens, no matter where life takes our little family, always always remember the inimitable words of Christopher Robin:
"Promise me that you will always remember: you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think."