To My Mother, on Her 27th Mother's Day

I can’t remember where I was when I heard the breast cancer diagnosis, or how she told me. I can’t remember the thoughts that ran through my head, or how I responded.

All I remember is the murky fog that quietly settled over my life, muffling sounds and dulling…everything. The thought of cancer lurking inside my mother’s body, threatening to take her so effortlessly, so casually, was unbearable.

And then a few weeks later — the diagnosis stinging like a freshly opened wound — I found out that I’d soon be a mother myself.

That’s when the fog felt suffocatingly thick.

And yet my mother was strong enough for the two of us — bravely barreling through tests and multiple surgeries, all while holding my hand and listening to my darkest thoughts.

She’s been an unwavering force of positivity and resilience — selfless to a fault. And even though I felt completely unprepared to be a mother, especially when faced with the reality of my own mother’s mortality, I had someone to emulate.

I hope I can teach my son to default to positivity and optimism, as you have.

I hope I can be open and understanding enough that he’ll confide in me, as I have with you.

I hope he can look to me as an example of perseverance, along with his Grandma. Because after two tumors, countless surgeries, and a laundry list of medical blows, you never stopped smiling or started complaining.

I hope I have your strength.

But above all, I really hope I can make my 50s look as good as you do.

I love you, mom.

Thank you for the examples, the lessons, the love — everything. I’m a better mother because I’ve had you.

Read more from Michelle at Early Mama, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Rocket Fuel