Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Mother

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. As most all of us know. It's supposed to be a special day to celebrate all our mother means to us. Sadly, the flowers I sent my mother cannot begin to express my thankfulness for her and her role in my life.

Three years before I was born my mother and father went to the House of Ruth adoption ministry and began to fill out paperwork to adopt a child. My mother prayed for years. During their wait, my mom and dad moved from California (where the agency was located) to Tennessee, where I have grown up and lived my entire life.

Months before my parents were paired with my birth mother, they got word that there was a woman who wanted them to have her son. If I'm not mistaken, then even began some of the paperwork. But as soon as the lady found out her child would be living in Tennessee, she backed out. For this, I am thankful to God and to this woman.

My parents went through a great deal to get me. When I was born, I was a month early and in serious health. The doctors who called to tell my mother that I was in the world, also told her not to bother coming to California to get me because I wasn't going to make it. My heart had a valve that was malfunctioning.

My mother told the doctor that she would be on the next plane out of Nashville because I was going to live and because she'd prayed for three years for a baby girl and I was going to be fine; that God would work through his hands and I would live.

This doctor was a known atheist. He went to get on the helicopter that was flying me to a better facility and told them that I would make it because, apparently, in his words, God was going to work though his hands.

When my mother got to the hospital, the nurses all wanted to meet the woman who had made this doctor say something about God.

And with the good Lord's help, and the medicine that wasn't supposed to work, I was able to be okay. I didn't even need surgery. And after 17 days in a incubator, I was able to function and be normal.

That was a hurdle that my mother didn't bargain for. She didn't have to take me. The adoption wasn't final. She could have stayed in Tennessee and not come to get me. That would have been acceptable to most, I think.

But they didn't. She didn't. They brought me home to Tennessee. And I lived with them for years. And then diabetes came to knock on our door.

As an infant and toddler, I never wanted to suck on a pacifier. Mom always said I would spit it right out. Suddenly, around late 3, early 4, I began to suck on my middle and ring finger of my left hand. Like a child would suck on their thumb. Then I started wetting the bed at night. Something I hadn't done since I was potty trained. And then I would have nightmares. Actually, night terrors, where I would wake up seeing things in my bed that weren't there.

My mother thought I needed a shrink. She took me to the doctor. Turns out, there was no need for a shirk. Diabetes had just come into our world.

Everything changed for her after that. For me too. I can't imagine the terror and fear and sadness that a mother faces when her child is diagnosed with diabetes. Sure it's treatable. But so scary. And at the time (1985) there were still many many misconceptions about the disease. Even more than now.

I've thought, throughout the years, that my mother didn't bargain for this. She adopted a child that was supposed to be her little perfect girl. She didn't count on a lifetime of medical bills, doctor's visits and constant worry about her child.

I read a poem once that said it takes a special woman to be the parent of a diabetic child. Sometimes I think that's why I was adopted. God knew that I needed my mom. And that she needed me.

My mother isn't perfect. She'd be the first one to tell you that. She hasn't always made the right decisions or choices. But she's always been there for me. I've always known that I was her number one priority and that I could go to her with anything. In many ways, she's like my best friend. And I thank her for that.

So no present, or bouquet of flowers, or any word could ever convey to the world how much my mother means to me. But I hope, that I can give her just a small idea of how wonderful I think she is.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.


Minnesota Nice said...

OMG OMG, Cara - please don't put that up - I just came from Hannah's blog and still had her name on my mind.

Anonymous said...

it really does take a special person to be a parent of a diabetic, I wrote about my mom before coming to your site... this was a wonderful post. I also find it interesting that you mentioned night terrors, because I have a vivid memory of waking up crying during the night very shortly before my diagnosis.. thinking someone was in my room. I had never thought anything of it until now.

Your mother sounds like an absolutely amazing woman!

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice post, Cara, and a very moving tribute to your mother.

I had to smile at what you said about the ring and middle fingers of your left hand because I had the same habit. It wasn't D-related, though; I still had 20 years to go before my first high sugar.

Your mom must be a wonderful lady.