May 1, 2008

She's somebody's hero

(a portion of) "Somebody's Hero" by Jamie O'Neal

She's never pulled anyone from a burning building
She's never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name
She's never hit a shot to win the game
She's never left her footprints on the moon
She's never made a solo hot air balloon ride, around the world,
No, she's just your everyday average girl (but)

She's somebody's hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned up knee
A little kiss is all she needs
The keeper of the cheerios
The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She's somebody's hero

She didn't get a check every week like a nine-to fiver
But she's been a waiter, and a cook and a taxi driver
For twenty years, there at home, until the day her girl was grown
Giving all her love to her was her life's ambition
But now her baby's movin' on, and she'll soon be missin' her
But not today, those are tears of joy runnin' down her face

Literally from the time I can remember, I wanted to be like my mom. I chose this picture because I can actually remember it being taken. It was in May of 1982 before a Mother-Daughter Banquet. I would have been 20 months old, and my mom and I wore matching dresses. I remember my mom kneeling down beside me so that she would be on my level for the picture. Seeing her kneel down, I in turn squatted my chubby little legs down beside her. I thought that was how we were posing for the picture. I grew up in a family of boys. My mom was the other girl in the house, and she not only filled the role of my mom, but she's also been my best friend.

We returned home from my 12th and final chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday night. On the way home, I sat in the passenger seat of my parents' minivan and just thought back. It is so nice to know that I am on my way to being well, so it sounds crazy to say that I am going to miss a lot of things. My mom has been there for 11 out of my 12 treatments in Chicago. Years ago, she would not have been comfortable driving long distances, especially unfamiliar places. In the last seven or so months, she has driven nearly 9000 miles, all to see to it that I got better. During our drive home, I realized that she would have driven me to the moon and back, and even stopped by the sun if it would have made me smile.

To say my mom never worked when me and my brothers were little would not be a fair statement. As the part of the song I posted states, she was a waiter, a cook, and a taxi driver for years and she was happy to get paid in smiles and hugs. I can never thank my mom enough for the way that she has been there for me during this crazy journey. She lost one of her sons, yet still had it in her to fight for her daughter. I talk to her every day by noon, and most days, I proceed to call her every couple hours after that. She never complained about driving 7 hours each way to Chicago, and she didn't mind if I slept or sang in the car. She drove us through blizzards and pouring rain, sometimes with windshield wipers that did not want to work. She filled the gas tank up many times in the dark and with wind that could almost blow her over. She battled car doors that would not close and lights that would not go off. She made her way through the hospital and down to the cafeteria (in the shaky elevator!) and came back smiling. She always remembered to bring water in a cooler for our drive, plus more snacks than I would ever need. Clorox wipes were always packed in her suitcase to reclean the hotel rooms so that I would not get sick. There was one trip home that we needed to get off the road because the snow was so bad, and we stayed at the only hotel we could find. I am certain that she stayed awake and prayed for our safety all night, yet still had enough in her to drive us the rest of the way home! We laughed about stories and circumstances. We met lots of people at the hospital, and my mom got some support and hugs that I know she needed.... one of the nurses sang Happy Birthday to her on her birthday.  We played Yahtzee in the doctor's waiting room and we giggled about Muppets. She let me ramble about anything that I was thinking about, and stayed with me even if I fell asleep during my treatments. And when we get home, she's still one of the first ones to see if Mike and I need anything. She would do anything for her kids and grandkids. I know that there are a lot of people out there who have lost their mothers, whether by death or by circumstance. I am so fortunate that I have my mom, and that I can honestly say that she made chemo trips more fun for me. She is definitely somebody's hero... MINE!

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