Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Mama Bear

This is hard. I don't want to do this.  Those are the phrases that cross my mind daily when thinking about my mom's cancer.  Her breast cancer returned after 3 years and now she has Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. The cancer is everywhere, bones, brain, lung, liver.  My vibrant mom is withering away and this week she just looks so....  so... so very beaten down.  That is not the mother I know.  Cancer is a thief, robbing my mother of her spunk. I don't want to do this. This is so hard.

Growing up, my mom was ALWAYS in our corner.  She was the ultimate "Mama Bear." Today was a Yellow Day at our house.  Both of the kids got in trouble in school and got their colors changed and moved down from Green (good) to Yellow (warning).  It reminded me of when I was in 2nd grade, and got my color changed.

Second grade was a tough year for me.  After an awesome summer with an amazing trip to Ixtapa, Mexico and watching the Olympics live in person, I got sick.  Really sick. So sick, that I wanted to stay home instead of attending the Ice Capades, even though we had front row seats!  Long story short, I nearly died from a rare medical condition and I ended up missing the first few weeks of 2nd grade.

When I finally got well enough to go back to school, I was excited to be out of the hospital, back with my friends.  Even better my older brother had my second grade teacher before and loved her. Mrs. Kuss (rhymes with goose) made no big deal of my arrival back in school.  I found my desk, sat down, and started in with the day.  At some point she asked the class to 'quietly pull out our Compucat Charts and prepare for a test."  I had no clue what a Compucat Chart was and so after a quick glance around the class, I turned to ask my neighbor.

Suddenly, I heard, "Wendy, No TALKING, pull out your chart."
Moi: Whaa....
Mrs. Kuss interupting: I said NO talking.  Go change your color.
I sat silent as I have no idea what a Compucat Chart is or how to change my color.
Mrs. .Kuss:  Change your color TWICE for not being obedient.
The kids behind me are hissing, "Go to the wall in the corner"
Mrs. Kuss yells and points to a wall:  Go do it now or else you will be in the prinicpals office.

At this point, I think hanging out in the principals office would be a vacation. Who knew my second grade teacher would be such an ogre, my brother totally lied.  I go over to a wall of blue smiling faces, find my name and quickly realize behind it are frowny faces with other colors.  I guessed what changing your colors twice would be, and sat down.  The kid next to me had pulled out my Compucat Chart and put it on my desk in an act of compassion.  I carried on with my day, biting my lip, trying to hold back the tears.

During recess, I had to lie down in the nurses office so she could check my temperature and give me a once over.  I cried to the nurse and told her  all about how my teacher was terrible, and she said, "Don't worry, I know your mom, she'll fix it."

As soon as I got home, I told my mom all about my day and the colored happy faces.  I wailed that I had an orange frowny face above my name.  Her smile faded and I could see fire in her eyes.  She looked at the big clock in the family room and said, "She's probably still there. Go get a drink and lie down, let me make a phone call."

I stood outside my parent's door listening to my mother talk to Mrs. Kuss.  She was livid and used phrases like, "How dare you.... The child misses the first few weeks of school and you can't take 2 minutes to explain the classroom procedures?   I expect this will be fixed tomorrow...   Wendy will be awaiting your apology. "

I heard her hang up the phone and I sprinted to my bed and acted like I wasn't eavesdropping.  She walked in, calmly pulled the blanket up to my chin, and said, "Don't worry, Mrs. Kuss made a mistake.  She will apologize and fix it."
The next day, during recess Mrs. Kuss pulls me aside and apologizes.  She then takes me on a tour of the classroom and the goes over the daily schedule.  At the end, she looks at me and says, "I'm really sorry about yesterday, your mother was very upset with me."  With the confidence that my mom was on my side, I looked at her and said, "Yeah, if you mess with me, your gonna have to deal with mom, so you better watch it."

Unfortunately, Mrs. Kuss would have to deal with my mother's wrath again, but she totally deserved it and it wasn't like I didn't warn her. That's another story for another day.

Now, my Mama Bear is in the fight of her life, and I'm all grown up.  I feel like I'm the Mama Bear, pacing around my wounded cub.  I just don't know what I can do to help her fight.  I don't want to lose her, but I don't want her to suffer.  This is so hard.


Noelle Reese said...

I don't know you. I am a lurker on 2peas. I love your blog. I love how funny you are. I don't love that you write so well you are breaking my heart. I have already lost my Mom because she refused to quit smoking and COPD took her life. This IS hard. It IS heart-breaking. I really wish there was something someone could do to make it easier but there isn't anything. So, with that said all I can tell you is what *I* did. I loved my DH more. I loved my DD more. I loved my boss more. I loved my friends more. I bawled like you can't even believe every single day in the shower. Some times I went power walking at night so I could take another shower and bawl my eyes out. My mom passed in June of 06. In July I got pregnant and lost that baby. In August I got pregnant and lost that baby. after 3 months we accidentally got pregnant on Valentines Day. Carlee turned 3at the end of October. While I still miss my Mom every single day, it does get easier. Carlee knows every little thing about my Mom. We have never stopped talking about her. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers!

... said...

Oh, Wendy. I am crying. For the little second grade you and the grown up you. I am so sorry you are facing this. You are in my prayers.

Cindy said...

Oh, my Wendy friend. My heart hurts for you. I wish I could hug you and we could eat chocolate together. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Prayers for you. Prayers for your mom. And special prayers for your kids.

Brooke said...

Thanks for putting my crappy morning in perspective - I wish I could make things better for you. Great advice from Noelle - I can't wait to see you in February.

Jenny said...

Boo. That's what I have to say to cancer. On of my dear friends is loosing her battle and it's just...Boo! Such a helpless feeling. I hate it. I'm so sorry you have to go through it with your mom. If anyone can be a mama bear for your mom right now though it's definitely you. She's lucky to have you with her through this. Your in my prayers and thoughts and what a wonderful legacy your mom has left for you. I love this story, it reminds exactly of something you would do for your kids.

Laura "Redial" EllJayPea said...

Cancer needs to get cancer and die. That would serve it right.

**MIGNONNE** said...

Wendy I am so very sorry. I will pray that you both will be comforted during this time. I wish I could do more.

gena said...

Cancer sucks. I'm so sorry that your Mama Bear is fighting this fight and I pray for peace and strength for her and for you as you fight it with her.

Thank you for sharing a bit of her with us,

gena (aka Lavender on 2peas)

Crafty Hooker said...

I am sorry to hear about your mum. I lost my dad to leukemia. Very hard to do, watch them fade away! I hope you can find peace in the fact that when she passes she will be pain free and she will finally be able to rest! She will never really leave you. She will always be a part of you and your memories of her will heep her alive in your heart!

... said...

je t'adore trop


heather said...

Wendy, my heart aches for you. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Cancer just flat out sucks! I will keep you, your family, and your mom in my prayers. xoxo