Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful moms out there. Whether your children have two legs or four, celebrate today and know that your sacrifices and everything you have done for your children is amazing and is appreciated. If I take a moment and think about the things that my mom has done for me, it is humbling and I know that I am not aware of everything she has done for me. With that in mind, this post is not about me, but about the very influential woman in my life who taught me to be thoughtful, kind and respectful.
My mom had me when she was 25. I know her and my dad tried a few times to have children and finally were able to have me. I was born a healthy baby, weighing in around 8 pounds, but was diagnosed at two with Retinalblastoma (or Cancer of the retina). I can't even imagine how a 27 year old felt or even coped with that. I keep thinking that I'm the same age my mom was when her only child was diagnosed with a very serious disease. I obviously don't remember a lot about back then, but I know my mom gave more to me in that short time than most people give someone in a life time. She would take me to my appointments nine hours away and looked after me through my treatments. This love and dedication never stopped.
My mom and dad both fought hard with the public school system to have me enrolled and supported me through Kindergarten, elementary school, high school and post secondary education. Mom was always there when I needed someone to chat with and was my biggest fan when I was having a hard time with kids at school being cruel.
When I made the decision to be a competitive swimmer, my mom made it possible for me to become as good as I did. Without her help and support, I never would have been able to travel the world and participate in a sport that I loved. She made sure I was up for practices at 5 in the morning and would drive me, despite working. She always made sure I had more than enough food to fuel my unsatisfiable appetite. She traveled to many competitions and week long training camps as my guide/tapper. (A tapper is someone who stands at the end of the pool and whacks me on the head/between the shoulder blades so I know when the end of the pool is coming). Those early mornings weren't for her own good, but she did them anyway. :)
Mom always made sure I knew what the world around me looked like by getting me to touch everything and anything she could. Once while in Arizona on a three week training camp, she showed me some form of plant life unaware that there thin, hair-like thorns hiding in the beautiful flower's interior. She was the one to pull them out too. :) I made a deal with her that if I had to touch any more vegetation, she had to touch it first.
I think the thing that I am most thankful for is that my mom never told me that I couldn't do anything. I would come home with these huge dreams and she never me that I wouldn't be able to accomplish them. She let me try and succeed or fail on my own and I think that is important. That said, she was always there whether in celebration or to tell me to just try again. I've learned from my mom that failures aren't failures as long as you learn from them.
My mom has taught me the value of dependability and that is a trait that I cherish in all of the people I surround myself with. No matter what, whether it was being in the stands to cheer me on at my second Paralympics or making sure I have somewhere warm and clean to sleep when I come to visit, I know that my mom will be there for me and so it is to her, and the other wonderful moms (or motherly figures out there), that I dedicate this post.
Thanks Mom. :) Words cannot illustrate how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate what you have done and what you continue to do for me. :)