Today's post is about my mother. I was going to write about the boys, but she is on my mind. A lot of what I learned about being a mother came from her, so I'm not deviating too much.
My mother has a host of illnesses, most of them auto-immune. But she was diagnosed a few years ago with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. "Idiopathic" just means "of unknown origin", as in, "You have pulmonary fibrosis, and we just don't know why!" The treatment options seem just as limited if they actually know where it came from, so I don't get why they make the distinction. Either way, there is not a lot to be done if one has IPF. There are some medications slowly wending their way through the FDA approval process here in the United States. One could have a lung transplant, but my mother is not a good candidate. She takes a super-anti-oxidant, which provides some relief, and is now on continuous oxygen, which has helped. But her health is deteriorating, which is frightening for us all. She is a wonderful person, a great mother, a terrific example of a life fought for and well-lived, and I'm not sure what we'll do when she's gone.
I have no regrets about our relationship, which endured many rough patches when I was practicing how to be a good addict. We've forgiven and forgotten all our past mistakes. We genuinely like eachother, and enjoy being together. I hope she knows how much I admire her, for her hard work for us when I was growing up. I often use her post-divorce life as an example for my children of how a family should work together. At one time she had three nursing jobs, and we were responsible for getting our own meals, doing our homework, and looking after younger siblings. Later in life, she became a teacher, and then an anatomy instructor. She had bills to pay, but she was also proud of her work. It was a good lesson to learn.
She is, in no small way, responsible for my marriage. The Captain always recommends checking out a girlfriend's mother, to get a glimpse of the future; I think he hung around waiting for me to get my shit together mostly because he loved my mom. He knew what he was getting, stubborn streak and all. (He's still trying to figure out who is more intractable. The answer is Mom.)
So, today, we were trying to figure out when we will next see her. She's in Florida, we're in New Jersey. The children all have different spring break schedules, so it will be impossible to go to her. She doesn't do well in the cold weather, so she can't come here. We miss her, but more than wanting her to come home, I want her to be happy. I want her to be frivolous. Extravagant. Impulsive. I want her to be selfish. But that will be hard for her, because she's spent her life being self-less. Just this once, I want her to be less stubborn than I am, and change her ways.