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Mom: A Name Well-earned

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From the archives
 
Today I’m heading to the hospital.  It’s a 30-minute drive and I’ll have all three of my kids in the back with me (a 4-year-old, a 2.5-year-old and an 8-month-old).  My sister will be coming as well but solo since all her kids are in school this morning.  We’re on our way to provide some respite care for my mother who has been taking care of my Dad in the hospital since his surgery on Saturday, four days ago.  We’ve been trying to take turns visiting every day so that my mom gets some exercise and is able to relax some.  Well, as much as you can relax when someone you love is in the hospital. 
 
At this point, you might wonder how the three kids could provide any relaxation.  Contrary to what you might assume, seeing her grandchildren is what my mother longs for.  Changing a diaper, making them lunch, or just getting a few hugs from her grandchildren rejuvenates and brings happiness to my mother that I still don’t understand. My father has been unable to care for himself for a few years now and the task has largely fallen to my mother.   Showering, dressing, brushing his teeth, all the things that I have been doing with my small children my mother has been mirroring in caring for my father.  They love each other deeply and it has been a strain on them both in many ways.
 
In spite of this difficult situation, my parents have clung even more deeply to their grandchildren and the simple joys of having children in their home.  I always shake my head in confusion, because caring for their grandchildren, even as they struggle to deal with my dad’s health, doesn’t make sense.   How can she have more patience than I do with my 2-year old’s endless demands when their situation stretches her patience to a level that few of us will have to develop?  The tears and struggles of daily life with oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and endless amounts of doctor’s appointments somehow melt away from my parent’s faces as I watch them interact with their grandchildren.  
 
As my parents have struggled that I have begun to realize the depth at which my mom loves.  As difficult as life has been, this love that my mother has for her family is giving her a strength that we are now seeing in all its glory. It drives her to do the additional work that is required to be close with her grandchildren and help them be closer with their grandfather too.
 
Calling her my hero doesn’t feel like it accurately conveys what she means to me and my family-she is something infinitely more intimate and important.  The only title big enough to contain all that she means to our family is obvious.  It’s Mom.
 
Amanda LeSueur Bern
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