Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Proud Mom

I love watching my son play baseball. I love watching because he loves loves playing. As I stand there swatting bugs away and watching him make great plays in the field or make a big hit, of course I'm proud. But it's funny--I mean it when I say that the pride isn't rooted in the fact that he's a pretty good little player. It's rooted in his passion and his love of the game. It's rooted in the fact that he genuinely wants to see his teammates do well. It begins with the fact that despite some blips, deep down, I know that he's a nice kid. I'm so very proud of that.

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Last night Brian had a hockey thing so I was alone with the kids. I had recently heard that a woman in my town (who I will call "Maria") had been diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted to visit her to drop off a card and a book (the card which contained the caveat that I never assume the book will help, but it was worth a shot). I had known Maria years ago but our paths hadn't crossed for a long time.

Teddy took his usual sweet time getting into the car and my next door neighbor was surely horrified at how I yelled at Teddy (for the 20th time) to put the basketball down and get in the frigging car. He did so on the 28th time I asked. Once I calmed down from the whirlwind of getting home from work, wolfing down dinner, and buckling the kids up for our short trip, I started to wonder if I was wrong to bring the kids on this sort of a visit.

I told the kids why we were going to visit Maria--that she was dealing with cancer and that I wanted to bring her a card to tell her that I was thinking about her. They asked me about how I knew Maria and I told them.

With the kids in tow, I made my way up to the front door. When Maria opened the door, she almost immediately started to cry. I had the most vivid flashback of myself doing the exact same thing when I was at the stage she is -- a stage that still includes so many unknowns. Teddy and Annabel stood behind me as I hugged Maria. Through her tears, she asked me if she was going to be okay and I assured her she would. I couldn't see my kids but I knew that they were watching.

I hadn't expected Maria to want to talk to me but she did, so we talked, probably for a solid 30 minutes. Meanwhile, my kids played together like angels on Maria's front lawn.

Now, I love my kids, but I would definitely peg them as of the "high maintanence" variety. They don't typically just entertain themselves, and if they do, it's not usually in a calm and peaceful way. But for those 30 minutes, they did just that. They were perfect.

When we got into the car, I thanked them for being so good. "Why was your friend crying?" Teddy asked me, very concerned.

"Because she has breast cancer and when you first learn that you have cancer it's very scary."

"Were you scared?" he asked.

"Yes, I was. And sometimes I still am. But I also know that I got very good medicines and I'm very lucky for that."

Then we drove on to a nearby field and played some catch.

During that catch, I thought about how well Teddy can throw and catch the baseball. But that wasn't why I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in him. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride because as much of a nudge as he can sometimes be, he also recognizes immediately when someone is in pain. And I can tell it hurts him to see someone suffer.

I can't be certain of it, but I'm pretty sure that Teddy will never forget watching me hug Maria on her front step as she cried into my shoulder. And I'm pretty sure that Teddy was on his very best behavior for the rest of the night because he knew that by doing so, he would help someone in pain. That is what makes me burst with pride for my son. Because while a great catch or a big hit are fun, in the end, it's kindness that really matters.


  1. Hello,
    I am just beginning to read your blog. My son, who just turned 20, as been diagnosed with an "extremely rare" sarcoma in his bowel. We went to Dana Farber, for a consultation, and as I was perusing the site, came across your blog.
    I am at work right now, and though I should be working, I am captivated by your story.
    I had to go way, way back, to the 2012.
    I have been reading some "patient stories" and they give me hope.
    We are blessed with a truly supportive family (in addition, my older sister is a nurse, and her husband a doctor so we re in good hands with all the medical jargon thrown our way.)
    I lost my husband three years ago, and now this. My heart breaks for my son (Im sure your mother could fill my ears with her sorrow, as well.)

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, stories such as yours give me hope. My son will come through this. "It's a great resume builder.", he said, "I beat cancer!!" And in my heart, I know he will, the Blessed Mother told me so (but that is another story!)

    I look forward to reading your blog. I haven't read far enough, yet, to know if you are a religious person, but I will say it anyway....God Bless You!

    1. Oh Maureen, I am so sorry you and your family have had to endure so much. I know your son is in great hands and I will be praying and hoping the very best for him and you. Xo