It’s what others tell us and what we tell ourselves now and then, and why not? The world seems a lot simpler when you are little, maybe it is, maybe it’s just your perspective, or maybe as you move through life and grow, not just in height, but in experience, heart and mind, you know so much more, maybe too much. Then there’s the stuff that’s out of your control.
Years ago my wife’s role in life was defined as daughter, Sharon and Jerry Gross’s baby girl. That role never goes away, even with Jerry gone, of being one of the star performers in their lives, along with her sister Alisa. Never forget we all start out in the leading role in this play of life. Then enter stage right, me. Now it’s time for Act 2, the wife. If it works, and it has, we add a couple of players to life in Act 3, the one that make us immortal, bringing my daughters, Sophie and Emily into our lives.
The number one word in this current script of our lives is an easy one, it has just two syllables, “Mommy”. Come inside my house on any given day and it’s the word you will hear the most. If I drank a shot every time the word was uttered inside our four walls I would be stinkin’ drunk every day. It’s all good.
You might think this seems more like a blog for Mother’s Day, but I’ve got a reason for the set-up. On this day last year we were still in recovery mode from Debbie’s post-cancer surgery, and only a few weeks before being surprised about the next one, when we discovered something was wrong with the implants. For the remainder of 2012, more surgery, more recovery. But a year later, it’s in the rear view mirror. This year, my wife, mother of my children, gets to celebrate her birthday cancer-free and healthy.
But Deb’s birthday as do many significant days, reminds me of just how fortunate we are. How grateful to be beyond the worst and moving forward. And I don’t think I can give a better tribute to Debbie on her birthday than the one her daughter Sophie penned back in May, on the one-year anniversary of Debbie being cancer-free. Here now is just a sample:
“Mommy, I love you.
Those are the most powerful words in the world. It means that you give a part of your heart to somebody else. You’re in them and they’re in you. You put their happiness before yours, it kills you to see them hurting, you want to see them be the best they can be, you want to be there when they need you.
When you got cancer I felt like I couldn’t do any of that for you anymore. But fast forward one whole year and look where you and our family are now.
You are amazing, better than ever. You handled everything so maturely, and I know that’s what you think I should expect from my Mom. But I know you were scared, you were a little girl once and you still get scared too. But you were so strong. Daddy told me you and he cried before surgery, and I’m glad you could let it out because I know you were holding it in so Emily and I would think you were fine. But look at you now, there is nothing left to hold in but pure happiness. You’re strong and happy and beautiful and everything is better. As your daughter, I couldn’t be more proud to have you as my Mom. I love you with all my heart and I want you to tell yourself every night before you got to bed that “my daughter loves me and she thinks I’m the best Mom ever”, because it’s true. Even when we fight, tell yourself that, because that feeling never goes away.
I love the letter, and I love Sophie’s line, “you were a little girl once and you still get scared too.” How true. I’m sure there were times during the past year Debbie wished she was little again, maybe wished she never grew up, but she pushed on and still does so today, as strong and vibrant as ever, to make sure our two little girls have the best life possible. Girls who won’t be little much longer.
Once a little girl, Debbie had to grow up a lot this past year, but change (life happens) is inevitable, growth is optional. Those who grow become better. And this year will be better than the last.
Deb thanks for showing us all, when we have to, how to grow up.
Happy Birthday Deb.
I Love You, Mark