Happy Birthday.

Today marks my mother's 60th birthday.

Like my father's, it was a momentous day. My family came together to celebrate my mom and everything she means to us.  The year flew by quickly, filled with both confusion and clarity.  I found out in March that my mother had colon cancer.  And, while the doctors and everyone assured me it was manageable I felt my body imploding any time anyone mentioned it.  (If you're my friend and I've never mentioned this, it's not because I wish to keep you out of my life, but because I can't seem to comprehend the whole weight of it.) Spring and part of summer flew by as my mom underwent 6 weeks of chemo and radiation, to shrink her cancer before an operation.

In August the time for her surgery came, and it was then I realized I was unable to process what was going on in my mother's life and my life as a result.  I spent nearly every day in the hospital, hoping that I could learn as much as I could from doctors and nurses to help me through this process.  The last two nights of her hospital stay I spent with her.  I ached to see the nurses waking her up; I felt uneasy knowing that this was just the beginning of hospital visits and hospital stays.

Finally, when she came home, a part of me I never knew emerged.  I'd never claim to be a motherly or particularly thoughtful person.  My sisters tend to have this innate way of predicting people's needs, whereas I, probably as the youngest of the family, have a hard time recognizing people's needs.  However, when my mom came home, I felt secure knowing that even though I couldn't control what was happening to her, I could help her in small ways.  The week after my mom returned home from the hospital I had to head to New York for a trip I had planned months before.  I felt weak and tired and still confused about what was going on in my life.  I felt relieved to be away from it all because I could have time and space to process it all, but I felt sad to be away from my mom.

So when I returned home, I stayed with my mom as I much as I could.  I sleep by her side and try to be available when I can.  Balancing life has been difficult.  I believe these past months have been a very growing period, and I've cherished the moments I've spent with my mom.  Now, today her birthday not only marks 60 wonderful years of life but also, hopefully the beginning of a cancer-free life.

Everything most certainly has been confusing for me.  But I do have clarity in a sense that I believe God's been building up my life and my family for this birthday.  I see how I might have gotten married this year and been unable to see my mom.  I count it a blessing to have the time to spend with my mom.  God has been good to me for the past 27 years, and even more faithful to my mom for the past 60 years.  I have no doubt in my mind that whatever happens to my family that we would have lived a very blessed life together.  God has given me 27 years with my parents, and I'm grateful for that.  And although I still travel often, it's different than before.  I still need traveling sometimes to take a break, to clear my mind and to rejuvenate myself, but for the first time, I do have regret to be away from home and family.

But maybe it's that "balance" of confusion/clarity, happy-to-travel-to-take-a-break/sad-to-be-away-from-home that keeps me going.


p.s. I cut my hair....more on that later.