September 2nd, 2002

WebCam Greg

My Mom

I haven't talked about my mom in my journal, and since her birthday is tomorrow, I felt like telling my LJ friends a little about her. She will be 62 tomorrow and since age is not an issue with her, she wouldn't mind me releasing this information.

My mom and I are very close. I tell her "everything." I don't keep secrets from her. I don't need to. Ever since my father walked out and abandoned the family when I was four (I'll be writing more about this subject in a later journal entry), she has had to be the sole parent. She was able to take care of us three kids (Piper, 1; Paige, 2; me, 4) and go back to school and finish her degree in child development. She became an elementary school teacher and later became the Principal/Teacher of Santa Clara Elementary School, a traditional "Little Red Schoolhouse," complete with one classroom and grades from kindergarten through sixth. When she retired, due to her disability, she was awarded a citation from the state, and was even awarded her own special day by the city, Valerie Sare Day!

She is a very strong woman that thinks of her kids over anything else. She doesn't think twice about going toe to toe with the scariest of people if she thinks her kids are not getting a fair shake. I have seen her do it many times. She even said to me one time while I was in the Navy, that she was going to write a letter to my Commanding Officer telling him that she wouldn't allow her son to play in the Persian Gulf. :) On the other side, if something is happening to her, she will usually just let it slide, as she hates confrontation. That's when we, her children, step in and battle for her. It seems interesting to me how that works. I think our whole family has the same attitude. You can mess with me, but don't f*** with my family.

Mom has also had to deal with health issues. She was so overweight that she had to have an intestinal bypass to remove most of her intestines. She has to take diuretics to keep her system and kidneys flushed because her stomach doesn't have the time to breakdown everything it needs to process.

She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when she was 29 and pregnant with Piper. The type of MS that my mom has is Chronic Progressive. She now has to use a wheelchair for everything she does. She refers to the chair as "her legs." She can manage to pivot from her wheelchair to another chair by locking her legs and swing around by using her arms. But even that is becoming more difficult for her to do lately.

I have moved back in with her to help her out by doing the cooking and cleaning and helping her when she doesn't have the strength to get things done. The arrangement seems to be working out fine. We are able to keep each other company and I don't mind being domestic.

I have to laugh as I remember a funny story. I don't really think about my mom being handicapped since she has had MS ever since I can remember. I had a friend over and we were playing computer games in my room when my mom called to me from the bathroom asking for help. She was taking a bath (this was when she was still able to walk) and couldn't get out of the tub. I called back I would be right there and proceeded to explain to my friend how the get through a particular part in the game. The look on my friends face was of sheer terror. I smiled at him and went to help my mom out of the tub. When I came back to my room, my friend asked if she was all right. I then informed him that this soft of thing happens all the time and it was not anything to be concerned about. I ended up having to explain the whole story about my mom having MS. The funny part wasn't the expression on my friends face, although that WAS priceless, but it was the fact that I had just come to expect situations like that as commonplace. So when he reacted in a way that was not calm and relaxed, I found it funny. Now don't think I'm a cold heartless bastard or anything. In fact, when I was helping my mom out of the tub, she was apologizing to me for pulling me away from my friend. She said she could have waited until I was ready to come help her, as she wasn't going anywhere. She said she waited as long as she could before calling me in the first place, but the water was getting cold and she couldn't sit there much longer. :)

She has also had two kidney stones and has had three different Malignant Melanomas removed from her thigh and legs.

But, with all that, she is a very happy person and enjoys life. She thinks nothing about driving her motorized chair 3 miles in each direction to go to Wall-Mart to buy yarn to do her plastic canvas projects. She is still very independent and hates to ask for help, but she will ask me when she needs it. I think that says a lot about our special closeness to each other.

I love my mom VERY much and I tell her all the time. Even when I was in the Navy, I would call her at least twice a week when I was in the U.S. just to fill her in on all that was happening. Now that I'm living with her, my phone bills have been reduced by 65%.

I'm proud to be her son.
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