{ Wednesday, October 04, 2006 }

The Bottom Dropped Out

So, I've been reading Flux: Women on sex, work, love, kids & life in a half-changed world. And yesterday I got through the part about women in their twenties. And it mentioned how these women didn't seem to be figuring on how they could possibly support a family on their income -- they were counting on a husband to do the financial heavy lifting if they had kids. They were talking about how they didn't know if they could manage both a relationship and their careers.

And I sat there feeling pretty good about myself. Because my mom did it. She set the ultimate example. She did it all. A very successful career while being a single mother of two children in dance lessons, private school, year round swim teams, and wanting for nothing that actually would have enriched their lives. And on top of that she had a boyfriend, a normal, drama-free, balanced relationship. (Or if there was drama, she didn't expose her children to it.)

She still does it all, just with the kids being grown and living thousands of miles away. ("The goal is to end up with adults who support themselves and leave the nest." That's what my mom told me when I told her people had been asking how she felt about my moving to Phoenix.)

I hear my mother held up as the example of excellent parenting by my friends all the time. Because my sister and I grew up to be practical, successful, well mannered, independent adults who can make a decision. Mom would say we're also both very pretty, but I'm trying to be a little bit modest here. And we both openly credit it all to Mom's Way. And then my friends tell me how jealous they are of me having such a fantastic mom who did all that and is also fun to go to music festivals with.

Little did I know that while I was reading this book and responding to the words on the page all "it can too be done and it's not that hard and you need to go talk to my mom, author lady.", my cell phone was vibrating in my purse.

And it was my fantastic mother. My mother who is almost certainly not a mere mortal.

And I missed the call.

And then later, the boyfriend heard my phone buzzing. And it was my sister. And I played the messages. "It's Mom, I have something kind of important to tell you." "Don't call Mom, she's going to bed. Call me when you get this."

I'm thinking about it, figuring that something "kinda important" and Mom's tone suggests that... something awful but not devestating has happened. I was wrong.

I called my sister. And she told me that our mother has cancer.

We don't know what kind yet. She talked to a surgeon today and it made her feel better. My aunt also felt better after talking to the surgeon. She even gave me his credentials so I would be confident in him.

She is having more tests tomorrow. We'll know more then.

posted by mary ann 5:15 PM