10 February 2011

A Wish for My Mother

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.


  1. Anonymous10.2.11

    This is beautiful! (Except it's also sad, so sorry about your mom's illness.)
    I just spoke to my own mother tonight (it was an accident, I hardly ever answer the phone, she was shocked). So, kinda funny, mine was on my mind too.
    Here's to hoping you can work out a good visit soon.

  2. Anonymous10.2.11

    Crap. I was emotional and forgot to say who that was.

  3. Megan, what a nice message, and I see so much of your mom in how you live your life. You mom has been a wonderful inspiration to so many, including her new daughters :) I am so grateful for her presence in my life. She has taught me to balance being strong and being kind to yourself, and to "stay in the moment" and not project, and I could go on and on...

    And I'm glad you recognized the part about pride in her work [hint, hint]

  4. @urthalun.com: We always know it's you, Julie!

  5. I'm happy to turn help turn this into a Norma Rocks!! comment section. For those who have not had the privilege, Megan is not biased. Norma really is very cool. She is kind, wise, but no pushover. Just the balance I am always trying to find. She's a great role model for parenthood and life in general.

  6. Great post! Five paragraphs about one of my favorite people! It was great to learn more about her.

    This also clears up a mystery. I've always wondered how the Captain could have made such an excellent choice in a wife. I adore him, of course, but he has always struck me as extremely fortunate in his decision.

    Now you reveal that he was in possession of inside information the entire time!! Very clever man! : -)

  7. @Janet: that, and I think alcohol may have initially been involved.

  8. Okay, as a chick who was my chronically ill mother's primary caregiver for several years, I headed straight for mayoclinic.com (we went to Rochester they are geniuses). What a shitload of eat well and get plenty of rest they offer for IPF. Blaah! I just gave them the finger.

    Hugs to you and your mom. She sounds incredible. I vote for you going to Fla for a long weekend. Possibly to do something pampering with Mom. (Will she let you do her nails? She doesn't sound like she'd be willing to pay for a mani/pedi or massage...but even my frugal grandma loves it when i lotion her legs and feet while she looks at a magazine I 'just happened to have')

  9. @Lora: She wrote and said she's working on being extravagent, so I'll get my very girly sister to take her when she visits in April!


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.