When I was growing up, I didn’t give my mom enough credit. All of the things about being a strong woman and resiliency and compassion came from her. Of all the absolutes in my life, the one that stands paramount is that I’m my definitely my mother’s daughter. We even look so much alike that we’re mistaken for sisters rather than Mother and Daughter.
See what I mean?
By my age, most everyone has realized the struggle and effort (or in some cases – lack thereof) that their parents put into raising the person that is you; and, even being a very young mother, mine always put me first.
I always had everything that I needed and more. My interests and pursuits were met with… “I’ll make that happen” rather than “We just don’t have the time.” And when it came to Class Parent? My mom was the first to step-up with an “I’ll do it”. No matter what, I knew I could always count on my mom.
Knowing that I can count on my mom no matter what and her being a nurse, I made one of the toughest phone calls I’ve ever had to make.
“Don’t come – no matter what.”
We’re living in the age of COVID-19 and an uncertain future. For some of us, it’s even rockier ground to stand upon when you have Autoimmune issues. I’m one those people as is my mother. So, when I started having symptoms of COVID-19, I took a painful breath, coughed, drank some hot tea to get some of my voice back, and texted my mom that I needed her to call me. Sure enough, within 5 minutes of the text, I was on the phone with her filling her in on the situation. When I got to the end of running over what was going on I told her… “Don’t come – no matter what.” And, I meant it with every fiber of my being even though it broke my heart to tell her to stay away from me.
If I had COVID-19, I didn’t want her risking her health to take care of me if things took a turn where having a mom that’s a Super Nurse that could advocate for me would help. With my health, my mom has sat with me in a hospital room more than once. The last time was just last October when I had a surgical complication resulting in a life-threatening bleed. Just to give you an idea of how serious that bleed was… my hemoglobin before surgery was 13.5 which dropped to 7.5 by the time I stabilized. I remember seeing that precious bag of blood hung ready for my IV. Luckily, that 0.5 was the difference between my being able to say, “No, save it for someone else. Let’s see what happens,” and no choice at all if I wanted to live.
She showed up at my hospital room early in the morning. My husband had been with me since 11PM the night before in Trauma 1 and was exhausted. I am always grateful for her, but when you’re in the hospital in a precarious situation where life and death are dancing but not fighting yet… my mom the Super Nurse and Super Mom is an extremely welcome site. My husband was able to go home and get some rest as was I because I knew with her there that nothing would be overlooked when it comes to my care. And, the other nurses are always incredibly welcoming and happy to see her once they start talking health care. They know that their patient (me) has an extra layer of care and can breathe a sigh of relief for at least one patient on their over-crowded roster.
Now, COVID-19 was looming, and my first thought was to call my mom and tell her not to do what she has done for me so many times because she is who she is and why I am the way I am. Even though she’s a nurse and has done bedside care forever, she’s on the front line of it all in a different capacity – phone triage. She’s the voice on the other end when you call the health hotline to get a medical opinion on how to treat something or whether you need emergency intervention, and she’s so good at it… so much so that she and her crew have won national recognition for how good they are at what they do. She really is a Super Nurse.
Clearly, I love my mom. Nurse or no. She’s done so much for me that’s exceptional in my inadvertent exceptionalism. Figure skating and dance wouldn’t have ever happened for me had she not worked at the rink I skated at so that I could have ice time and lessons. She was so good at what she did at the rink that mall management recognized her skills and offered her a position with them when the management group that had the contract to run the rink went under. So many Ice Capades rinks… so many employees without paychecks one Friday… and everything turned upside down.
Instead of Mall Management, she went to nursing school. I was so proud of her for taking that leap and going back to school. Little did I know, it was nursing school that would frame up our perspective of our home life. We had everything we needed except an anxiety-free environment. I was 16 when my mom told me that she was covertly working to get us out of there. The day after my 17th birthday was the day we left.
There’s disparity between the reasons cited by my mother and father about why we left. I know the truth. It had nothing to do with money. If money was what my mom was after, she would have stayed with my father and his six-figure salary. I’m not going to go into that, but let’s just say had she not shown me what real strength looks like when stopping the cycle of abuse, I wouldn’t have had the strength when I was 22 y/o to get myself out of a situation that you see in movies and possibly nightmares.
Moms, good moms – GREAT MOMS, lead by example and show us daughters and sons love and lessons that can come from no one else other than them. And, the life lessons I learned by watching her have endured. The love she’s given me can’t be substituted for anything else. It’s a foundation that is unshakable.
And that foundation was what had me calling her telling her, “Don’t come – no matter what.” On my list of people that would break me should COVID-19 take them away, my mom is unquestionably on it, and if being near me and doing what she’s always done would put her in harm’s way…
Mom, Don’t Come – no matter what.