Wonder Woman Has Nothing On My Mom
Happy Mother's Day!
As a kid growing up you get into plenty of little arguments on the playground over absolutely nothing, half the time ending in exclaiming that your opponent is not going to be invited to your birthday party that's ten months away and will be the best thing since Hi-C came out with Ecto Cooler. Then there was always that one kid who would break out the big guns with, "well, my dad can beat up your dad." I was always victorious in those arguments because the other six year olds didn't know what to come back with when I responded with, "Yeah? Well my dad can drink more Budweisers than yours." I always wondered what it would be like if little Timmy went home to his dad, who was about a six pack of Schlitz deep in his cut off flannel shirt, and told him what Johnny had to say, only to see his dad tear out of the driveway in his jacked up Bronco and head to, "that nancy boy's" house just to prove Johnny wrong and help Timmy's playground cred.
Sorry, got a little carried away there. Well, hopefully everyone remembers that Sunday is Mother's Day, and my message to all on the days leading up to it is that my mom can beat up Madeleine Albright. Yup, you read that correctly. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against the former Secretary of State. She's just an intimidating lady who happened to tell New York Times Magazine that she can leg-press 400 lbs at 68 years old, so she was fresh in my mind in terms of strong women whom my mom could pummel. I assure you that my mom cannot leg press anywhere near that weight, and at 5'3" and petite in stature she's anything but physically intimidating. She is, however, stronger than any woman I've ever come across.
Strength has absolutely nothing to do with how much iron you can toss around in the weight room. Strength, to me, is the ability to persevere through tough times, without so much as a single complaint. That is precisely what my mom has done. Most of you know my dad's story, which needless to say wasn't the easiest thing to go through, but through it all my mom persevered and kept the family strong. I never doubted that would be the case for a second. I can make a long list of her accomplishments and conquests that I'm proud of that further solidify my claims, but it would make this column entirely too long so I'll focus on the one which means the most.
I'll never forget the look on my mom's face on the evening of June 6, 2004 as she picked me up from LaGuardia airport after a weekend at The Memorial, Jack Nicklaus' tournament in Dublin, OH. It was one I'd never seen before from her. It was a mixture of fear, uncertainty, anger and guilt. It was weird, but without any prior cause for suspicion, I already knew what I was about to be told. She let me know that the previous Friday, she had been diagnosed with lung cancer which had already spread to her lymph nodes. Always thinking of others first, she opted to withhold it from me all weekend so it didn't ruin my weekend. All in one breath she told me this crushing information and continued with, "but I'm going to do everything I can and beat this sucker."
Nearly two years have passed since then. Two years filled with chemotherapy on Fridays, a number of other drugs and not a single complaint from my mom, just pure determination and dedication. Throughout it all she's also still had to assume her tiring role of working single mother of three, one of which being a teenager still living at home (the other two driving her nuts from afar). I would tell her to take it easy and she'd have none of it. Mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, taking out the garbage, you name it and she still insisted on doing it herself no matter how many times I told her she could hire cheap labor for those things (neighborhood teenagers, of course). She said it from the get-go, that this was not going to kill her but she was going to kill it.
Very long story short, the good news is that she responded quite well to the various chemo treatments she's been on over the past two years, though they wore on her physically and mentally at times and made her look like me for a period of time. I'm glad to say that Good Friday brought great news this year as her doctor told her tests revealed completely normal levels and not a trace of cancerous cells. She was told she's in complete remission. She's continued chemo treatment for a bit (and is in fact at chemo as I type this today) in case there's some lingering in scar tissue, but hopefully will soon be able to fully enjoy what she's worked so hard for the past two years. I don't think she fully understands how proud my family is of her and how much we look to her for strength and inspiration. There simply aren't the words to express. She is a survivor, and we all plan on her being one for a very long time.
On June 4th my mom and sister will be participating in a Walk & Run to benefit the Bennett Cancer Center in Stamford, CT. This is a phenomenal center and I credit its doctors and resources for allowing my mom to not only survive this bout, but thrive throughout it. The Bennett Center has relieved me of my biggest fear, which was having to raise a 15 year old young lady at the age of 25 when I can hardly be held responsible for myself, and for that I am forever grateful.
I humbly ask you, if you are inclined, to support my mom and sister (that's to her personal page) with any donation you deem fit so that many other families will be able to share more success stories in the battle against this terrible disease that affects so many in the world today.
Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me and my family over the years through our various bouts. There are simply too many to list, but I'd like to extend a special thank you to everyone here at MVHQ for being there for whatever we needed every step of the way. It was, after all, only 5 days after I began to work here at Minyanville that I received the news.
I'm wishing an early Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there! And please Mom, quit crying – all the kids are gonna make fun of me on the playground. At least I bet I can drink more Budweisers than them.
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