Yes, I know. Mother’s Day was last Sunday. But, I hereby write, why not give it up for all the moms who rule every day of the year, every year?
Just when I think I’m the hardest working mom out there, I see another mother who's spinning more plates than me.
My grandmother, Lettie, was an amazing woman. Born in 1892, she grew up in Cleburne, Texas before the turn of the century. She lived through the stock market crash of 1929, survived the Great Depression and saw 16 different presidents running our country. Lettie survived countless other events throughout her life, including having her first born child, a son, die of Tetanus because she bathed him in the same bucket as she milked the family cow. That was before her breast cancer, stroke and diabetes set in.
I’ve only met one other Lettie in my life, though the second one spells her name differently. She is the mother of one of my son’s fellow eighth graders. And we didn’t actually get off on the right foot when we first met seven years ago. Our sons both got in BIG trouble when they gave a second grade substitute teacher an especially hard time during his class.
But despite that awkward meeting in the principal’s office, we still have always seemed to appreciate each other for the hard parenting work we witnessed the other doing. And we see each other a lot. Both our sons are in the band, Boy Scouts and daily classes together and our girls are at the same elementary school.
When I saw Letty (with a “y”) this past Monday at the middle school’s final band concert of the year she was, as always, the most beautiful woman in the room. Perfectly coifed hair, manicured nails, gleaming wedding ring from her 28-years plus marriage; there was Letty. But this time something was different. She was in a wheelchair. That’s because Letty had a double mastectomy less than two weeks ago.
Both my Letties had/have breast cancer.
Thank goodness for my most recent Letty that the “times they are a changing” for people with breast cancer since my Grandmother Lettie had it more than 40 years ago.
“Cut everything off and out and hope for the best,” the doctors used to say back in Lettie’s day.
Not today. Through the blessings of, first off, a woman who was aware of her body and knew something was wrong, to some fast acting family practitioners and skilled oncologists and surgeons, to the courage of one family and the help of many friends, my new Letty is on her way to recovery.
The battle isn’t over, but at least, these days, Letty #2 is fortunate enough to have an army of doctors, friends and, most especially, family devoted to fighting, and finding a cure for, breast cancer.
That makes for a happy, if belated, Mother’s Day, indeed.
To donate or volunteer to help fight and find a cure for breast cancer, visit cancer.gov.