My mom’s not feeling so hot these days. She’s getting radiation and IV chemo at the same time. This would be rough for any average Joe, but on top of that my mom’s on a liquid diet, so her body is pretty much beat down. In an attempt to lift her spirits, Tim and I decided to take a last-minute trip to San Diego to see her last weekend.
I can’t describe to you how glad I am that we made the visit. My sister, who I haven’t seen in six years, was also visiting that weekend. My San Diego-native aunt and cousin were also around quite a bit. It was great for my mom to be surrounded by so many people who care about her.
But it was also difficult to see someone I love beyond words struggle so much. There is one particular moment that I just can’t get out of my head. I was watching my mom as she was dozing on the couch. Initially, she had a smile on her face. You could tell she was listening to all of her family talking and it made her happy. But as she fell into a real, deep sleep she started frowning intensely. And the look on her face then was anything but happy. Maybe that’s just how she normally looks sleeping, who knows, but to me it seemed like all the pain and nausea and other crappy stuff she was holding back while awake was rearing its ugly head in her sleep. That frown pretty much broke my heart.
In spite of all that was going on, I felt the same way I feel every time I visit my parents: safe and loved. I’ve never lived in my parents’ San Diego home. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I’ve visited them there. But still, I felt like it was my home, too. I felt comfortable there. I felt like I belonged. And it dawned on me that, even at 34 years old with a house and family of my own, home is still wherever my parents are.
I also thought a lot last weekend about the fact that my parents are the only people in the world who love me unconditionally. I know Tim loves me like crazy, but there are things I could do to drive him away. Like, I don’t know, have seventeen affairs. Obv, I would never do that, but the fact remains that I could do something to damage our relationship beyond repair.
But my parents? They’re in it for the long haul. Even if I did something unspeakably awful, I know they would still love me.
I’m only sorry it took me so long to realize what a gift that is.