My mom will probably kill me when she sees this photo, but she needs to hear me out before she demands the removal of such photographic genius.
The title for today's post couldn't be more perfect. While I never thought I'd use "War is Over" as a title for a Christmassy blog post, today the title of that song gives the introduction for everything I have to share. Yesterday, mom my won the war. She overcame harsh battles, and when going in for the final fight...came out victorious. I suppose there's a reason her name is Vickie.. right? HA!
This picture of my mom was taken on Christmas Day time two years ago. Even though you can't tell that it's Christmas, I remember that the kids had all just finished unwrapping their gifts when this picture was taken. When I think about Christmas, this is how I think of my mom. Big smile on her face, happy, a little goofy. I don't remember a year where my mom hasn't had that smile on Christmas Day... and this year, I'm expecting the same.
When she sees this photo, her first reaction may be "ugh, I look terrible in this photo". She may complain that her stomach looks too big with the way she's sitting. She may think her hair isn't fixed nice enough. She may see flaws and blemishes that no other soul is able to depict from this picture. She may complain that it's not a photo that was supposed to be shared with the world. She looks silly in the photo... and even though she looks happy, she didn't expect me to plaster the photo around for everyone to see.
What she probably doesn't realize is that when I look at that photo, I see a beautiful woman. A woman that wears 50 like a new designer gown. There's not a wrinkle anywhere. Not a gray hair. Her skin, her smile, her hair.... amazing. I only pray that I look this amazing twenty years from now. And beyond the surface of this photo shows a woman that doesn't mind a bit acting a little goofy for her kids. To make them laugh, enjoy their day, and depict true Christmas spirit.
Yesterday, I spent seven hours waiting to hear that my mom had come out of her battle safely. I sat. I walked around. I even drove to Walmart to pick up a few things, because the sitting was eating me alive. I crocheted. I read. I talked to my dad and my sister. Those were the longest seven hours of my life! Finally, word came that she was doing just fine and that we could see her.
Walking in to that hospital room I was blown away with a surge of emotions. My mom looked rough. She had tubes and wires coming from everywhere. There were beeps and dings going off every few seconds. I even made the joke (cause that's how I handle my emotions) that she looked like a bomb that needed to be defused. There were red wires and black wires and green wires and white wires. She was still pretty out of it when we got back there, and it made me sad to see my mom in such a frail state. But, what I didn't give her credit for was the fact that she had just undergone a MAJOR fight. I could hardly expect her to look her normal self after what she'd been through.
After spending a little time with her trying to get her to wake up a little, my dad and I thought it best to let her get some rest and head home. The nurse told us that she'd be out of it until the next day. She had so much pain medicine inside of her, that she wasn't going to be able to wake up enough to really know what was going on.
That was until my sister decided to faint and was then rushed to the ER because she smashed her head as she fell. My sister had decided it would be a good idea not to eat anything all day, and with the stress of what was going on and no food in her system... her body had just shut down.
The sound of my sister hitting the floor had caused my mom to jump. And then that caused my mom severe pain. While nurses were rushing around trying to get my sister conscious (she'd knocked herself out with the fall or from fainting..not sure which), my mom laid in bed hurting.
I WAS FURIOUS.
With all the commotion, my mom was put on the back burner while my sister was taken care of. My poor mom, barely conscious herself, was trying to understand what was going on, she needed help, she needed to be taken care of. And finally I was able to get someone to pay attention to my mom while my sister was prepared to go to the ER. I had to be the one to go with my sister, because my dad needed to stay to make sure my mom got the care she needed after jumping and causing more pain.
While I sat in the triage room with my sister, my heart hurt. I realized I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be with my mom, making sure she was OK. Then, I realized that my mom would know that if I was the one with my sister, it would be OK. I would take care of the situation. I would do what needed to be done, and report back whatever I needed to.
When my sister was finally (after 4 hours) released with a concussion and told to follow up with her regular doctor to make sure the fainting was addressed, I went straight back to see my mom. My dad had come down to the ER a little while beforehand because the unit my mom was in was being closed for a little while for a shift change.
The weird thing is, when we walked back in to the room... there was my mom. Not the frail, unconscious, beeping person we'd left a few hours earlier... but my mom. Awake. Fully alert. A look of relief and determination in her eyes.
You see, even after having her chest cut open, tubes and pipes and machines placed everywhere you can imagine, one of her kids had been hurt. And that, my friends, brought out (once again) the fighter instinct in my mother.
The nurses could not believe how coherent and alert she was. No pain medicine or anything else she was being pumped with could deter her. She needed to know that her child was OK, and regardless of the state she was currently in, she needed to know that everything was taken care of.
We spent some time talking to my mom, telling her how much she needed to rest, basically forcing her to stop worrying about any of us. She was the one that needed the taking care of for a while, and that was what needed to happen. Of course, saying something like that to my mother is pointless. When we're told it would be about 24 hours before we can talk to her, there she sat only 4 hours later as if she'd just walked in for a regular check-up.
The inner strength she has sure does amaze me.
We finally left the hospital around 9:15PM. And she even made us promise to call her once we got home, because the roads were still supposed to be a little slick. Once again, worrying about everyone else instead of herself. When I made it home, I called her, and it was just like calling her at home. She was still wide awake.
The woman even woke me up this morning with a text message asking ME if I was awake yet. She called me right after I told her I was, and she told me she'd hardly slept all night. She'd eaten breakfast, had been able to get out of bed, and was complaining that she was already tired about being stuck in bed for so long. Not even 24 hours after her surgery, she's up and moving around.
She told me she was going to try and get some sleep before we made our way up there to see her. I'm taking the girls to go see her today. I wasn't going to, because I thought for sure that she would need another day to come out of it. Huh, how wrong I was.
I guarantee my mom won't be in that hospital the 5-7 days she's supposed to be in there. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if after 3 or 4 days they are ready to let her go, because she's doing so amazingly well.
And now, I can get back to Christmas. I can get back to making sure everything is on track for another family Christmas that will knock the socks off the year prior.
There's still a somewhat rocky road ahead. But, after seeing what my mother is capable of, I have no doubt in my mind that everything is going to be A-OK. Cause that's just who she is. A fighter. A warrior. Not for herself, but because she knows how much we all need her.
As many are proud of the soldiers in their family that go off and fight in wars, I have that same respect and pride and love for my mother. She is a soldier in her own right. She fought the war on an illness that doesn't carry the best odds, and then broken and wounded she still came out with a smile on her face. That smile. The one I know and love so well.
I know I'm sharing WAY more than she'd like for me to share on my blog. But, Mom, I'm sorry. I had to share how truly amazing you are. I had to tell everyone how proud I am to call you my mother. I had to write the words that were bouncing around in my heart.
You inspire me to be a better person, daughter, and mother. I am so proud to call you my mom. No, honored to call you mom. You are a hero. My hero. And I will live everyday making sure you know that.
I love you, Mom.
So, this is Christmas? What an amazing gift to get. I couldn't be happier. And now, the War is Over!