I flew home a few weeks back, just for one day, so I could surprise my mom for her birthday (or, at least, a few days before her birthday). I snapped a few Droid shots of her one morning--she came down from her bedroom wearing all green--a green top, slacks, and cute little loafers. Plus some green jewelry:
I don't have very many recent pictures of her, and certainly haven't posted much on this blog. Probably because I thought I lost her there for a while, and consciously or otherwise have kind of held her at the margins, maybe protecting myself, maybe trying to see where things were at.
Because, from one vantage point, things could seem pretty precarious. She's still in a persistent state of pain, because that one knee has never healed, not even after a second surgery was supposed to make it right, and she's understandably quite freaked out about going in for a third surgery, which means more meds, more recovery, more pain, and all for a not-very-certain outcome. I don't think she ever will go in to get things "fixed." So my mom is 61 and is looking at being in chronic pain for the rest of her life, and really has to just take each day as it comes. And my dad, though cancer free, is also in precarious health for other reasons, and is 13 years older than mom, so I think my brother and I just watch and observe and hope this period of maintenance, of maintaining whatever fragile equilibrium we have, lasts as long as it can.
Or, from another vantage point, I could appreciate how solid things are, given everything that's happened, and appreciate my mom's strength (which is something that was very important to her during her breakdown--that I see her strength). Mom sends me boxes of her old magazines every now and then--stuff I wouldn't normally buy but like to read (More, O, Better Homes and Gardens--bathtub reading). And as I read them I will see excerpts of articles she has underlined, and I enjoy seeing the underlines, and wondering what she has thought. It occurs to me now I should ask her.
She has underlined bits about finances and retirement; staying married for long periods of time; and especially lots of underlining about how to survive pain, and how to appreciate each day. When I see these I'm reminded of what my mom's everyday life must be like, which I don't see much of, and how brave and strong she is to make it through each day given everything she has been through.
Mom can be difficult sometimes--she gets pretty easily caught up in the drama of little things that happen, and she can be short-tempered. Maybe a little disconnected from what I feel is "reality"--she's a little isolated. Moreso now that she is in pain a lot. But, these words could also be used to describe me, or any of us at certain times. So this morning I am just appreciating everything my mom did to bring herself back from the brink, and to be a part of our lives as best she can, and to get up everyday, despite the pain, and get so conscientiously dressed, to be active, to live a good life anyways, and to love.