People ask and worry about my dad a lot, but most people don’t think about the fact that whatever he can no longer do, my mom has to do it for him. She has to see for him. Walk for him. Empty his bladder, or at least his catheter bag. His kidneys? Blood sugar? She’s had that job for years. She has to fix his food. Feed him. Sometimes actually physically place nutrients into his stomach through a tube. She has to get medicine and ointments for his wounds and heal him. Hell, even when he wants to relax? Shift a little to the side? She has to do that, too.
It may seem like a lot of work, and it is (on top of maintaining a yard and a house, and working full time) but she’s worked that hard for years.
A few months ago, when she was (awesomely and uncharacteristically) trash-talking someone we knew decades ago, she let it slip that she didn’t pity this woman for complaining to be poor (on a 60K salary) because at the time, my mother was holding our family together on $19,000 a year.
I’ll repeat – she supported two bratty kids, a newly-blind husband who could no longer drive, and a gorgeous house in one of the wealthier zip codes – on a “salary” I haven’t seen since early college. And my Grandma has marveled many times that my mother never asked her for a penny. Not even once.
I’m adopted. So is my brother. That means my mother has never gone through the labor that most of your mothers – or maybe even you – have experienced. But I’ll be damned if she hasn’t worked harder than all of us combined.
I had to walk in her shoes for one week and take care of my dad while she was in the hospital, and by the time it was over I collapsed from exhaustion, in tears. She does all that work every day. She does it and stays beautiful. She is super-human. And every single day, I thank God that she’s my mom.
(P.S. Thank you again for everyone who helped with my concert last year, because it felt so great to help her for once.)