1. A beautiful and rare creature that picks you up when you fall down, feeds you soup when you’re feeling sick, and nags you to wear a sweater when it’s cold.
Maybe my definition of mom is a bit specific.
But, in some shape or form, I think all of us have mothers – biological or adopted – who fit into this definition. Whether they stay at home to make sure our lunches are healthy, our beds are made, our soccer jerseys are washed, and our homework is done, or they work long hours to make sure there is food for lunch, a bed for us to sleep in, clean clothes to wear, and a chance at a good education – mom’s put their wants and needs aside to take care of us.
Sure, sometimes mom’s can be naggy, invasive, and embarrassing (see crazyjewishmom or my grandmother, (mom’s mom) who has since passed but whom I miss dearly, but could have been “Crazy Jewish Mom”.) Sure, they may make us want to pull out our hair, scream at the top of our lungs, or hide under the bed. And sure, sometimes they think act like they know everything – but 100% of the time they are doing what they do because they love us.
If mom’s could be rated on a scale of 1-10, they would all be a 10.
Mom level 10.
But there’s a special class of moms. Moms who surpass the scale.
Mom level 11.
These are the mothers of kids with chronic illnesses.
Moms with sick kids are a whole other category of mothers. They take on all the responsibilities of moms at level 10, with an additional level of anxiety, stress, fear, and worry.
My mom is definitely a mom at mom level 11.
Whether she was peeling strawberries for me to eat, because I couldn’t eat the seeds on my special Crohn’s diet, or she was waking up at the sounds of my whimpers and lying beside me when I couldn’t sleep because of the pain, or when she’d come sit with me when I was in the hospital on her lunch breaks from work so I wouldn’t be alone – my mom did it all, while still working a full-time job and having to be a mom to my little brother.
The thing about mom level 11 is that it never ends. Even now, with my Crohn’s kind of maybe not but maybe in remission, my mom still keeps an eye on me. She bugs me to email my doctor, or checks in on what I’m eating, or how much I weigh, or just how I’m feeling. She’s always worried about me, even though I’m 25!
I’m really lucky to have her in my life.
Well, actually, I’m extra lucky.
I have another mom at mom level 11 in my life who also keeps tabs on my health.
My grandmother (my dad’s mom), who she herself is also the mother of a kid with a chronic illness.
From what I’ve been told, a long time ago, my uncle struggled with stomach pain for a while, but doctor’s kept telling him and my grandmother that nothing was wrong. Knowing full well that something was, in fact, wrong, my grandmother continued to pressure doctor’s until they finally were able to diagnose him with Crohn’s when he was 13 years old. She not only had to take care of her young sick son and all the symptoms and struggle of Crohn’s, but she also had to maintain a household and a business and 3 other children.
And then me. She had to worry and stress alongside my parents while I suffered from the same disease she had seen her son suffer from for most of his life.
She might actually be a mom level 12.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but there is a good chance I, myself, will also be a mom to a kid with a chronic illness. That scares me to death.
At this point, I can barely see myself being able to reach mom level 10. Babies cry and I give them right back to where they came from. I hardly have enough hours in the day to get everything I want to get done, now – how the hell will I have any time when there are kids in my life? I mean, my boyfriend gets sick and I can barely handle him whining on the couch!
If I struggle to imagine having to take care of a healthy tiny human, how am I supposed to take care of a kid who can’t eat, can’t sleep, who is in unbelievable pain and is on the brink of death?
I honestly do not know how my mother and grandmother were able to do it. Or how they can still do it.
But they did and they are and they will continue to do so.
At least I know that when I do have kids, and if my kids are kids with chronic illnesses, I’ll have 2 amazing role models to look up to.
You are both the strongest people I know. I love you both so much <3