It was 10am and I had just finished having my coffee when my phone dinged. “The doctor told your mom it was stress.” It was a group text message from my Dad to my brothers and me. I was confused. “What was stress?” I figured something had happened to my Dad – as he has had quadruple bi-pass surgery before. But since he was texting me, I thought he was fine. To double check I dialed his number.
“What’s due to stress?”
“Your Mom is at the heart hospital. We are here now.”
BOOM. Life change. My MOM was in the hospital? My Mom was NEVER in the hospital. I love my Mom, as you love yours. I want her to lead a vibrant life forever and ever, and it was terrifying to think of any other possibility.
I spoke with her and she told me she was fine but that she had had a difficult time getting her blood pressure under control so she called for help and headed to the hospital.
After some observation the doctor’s deemed her okay to leave but told her she needed less stress. PRESCRIPTION: VACATION.
I drove the five hours from my home to my parent’s home that day and spent the weekend with my family. I showed up with warm chicken soup and groceries. That weekend I slept in my old bedroom across the hall from my parents, no matter how old I am (32) – it always feels nice.
I racked my brain for ways to help my Mom unwind. How could I get her to relieve stress? I have tried for years and years and years to motivate her to love herself as much as we love her. But she always seemed to go back to the normal – pouring into us (her husband and children) and leaving herself last. Sound familiar?
Mid-August I finished writing a book (coming in 2016!) and in it I detail that becoming a mother pushed me, in the greatest of ways, to do things for my daughter that I was never able to do JUST because I would benefit. In her first year of life my young daughter has pushed me to contribute more, to follow my passions more and to live confidently — mostly because I know she is taking her cues from me. She is learning how to be the kind of woman I show her to be. And that responsibility honors me and excites me every day.
As I was digging around my mind and spirit for ways to help my Mom and I said, “Mom, I know you have a hard time doings things for yourself.” She nodded. “So . . . do it for me. Take care of yourself for me. Take care of yourself because you are showing me how to age. You are showing me how to live in my fifties. How you live is how I will live.” I meant it in the most loving, supportive way possible.
I think I made an impact, but she’s the only person who gets to decide what her life will be like. I can wish, but only she can act.
I’ve been out of her home for a LONG time, but my Mom is still the one woman I trust more than anybody. She’s still my life giver, literally and figuratively. She’s still my role-model.
Mamas, no matter how old or how young our children, we GET to show them HOW.
Update: My mom is doing great and has since been a vacation and started yoga!!