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  • Writer's pictureRuth Navarro

Me-Time, Botox and Dos X

My intention was to write this post for Mother’s Day, but I didn’t have the chance to finish because, well, kids. I never realized how big of a deal Mother’s Day really is until I became a mother. This whole mom thing is hard. It takes a toll on you mentally, physically and emotionally. I mean, these worry wrinkles and under eye bags didn’t get there on their own. Don’t blame me for wanting some me-time and maybe Botox and a six pack of Dos X for Mother’s Day.

I didn’t get to see my mom for Mother’s Day this year. Humberto was driving back from Iowa after finishing some truck driver training, so I didn’t want to put him through another road trip after he had just finished a 16+ hour drive. I was grateful to Face Time with her and that I was able to see her smile. My mom’s speech hasn’t been the best in the last few years so it was really nice to hear her say she loved me. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was very young and it’s affected her speech. I guess it could always be worse. I mean considering she was only given six months to live when she was first diagnosed; I was about 8 years old. I’m 32 now.

For Mother’s Day, I didn't really care to receive gifts. I just wanted to sleep in and wake up to a clean house, but that's nearly impossible with little ones. I'm still so grateful I was able to relax at the spa and get a much needed massage thanks to Humberto. The kids gave me some cute hand made gifts that made me cry. Becca gave me a plant and a small canvas she had painted. Humbertito gave me a painting with his hand print on it and his teachers asked him a series of questions about me for a "newspaper" article. It was the cutest thing.

Screen Shot of my Insta-story.

What I really wanted though, was to take my mom to the movies or shopping. For the longest time, I’ve dreamed of having a girl’s day out – maybe grabbing some lunch and getting our nails done together. My mom’s hands and finger nails have always been beautiful, so I know she could get away with only getting a manicure. I remember she’d tell us to use hand lotion regularly. She’d say our hands tell our age, so we’d want to take care of them. She’d also remind us to moisturize our elbows so they wouldn't feel rough in case we accidentally rubbed against someone, but I digress.

It would be nice to get my mom an edible arrangement or treat her to a very well-deserved dinner. I actually don’t remember the last time we had dinner at a restaurant. My mom has been bed bound for years and I can’t recall the last time I saw her walking. I have this faint memory of my mom using a walker as she made her way down the hallway at home. I don’t know how long ago that was; I was likely still in high school. I was sitting in the living room watching TV and I could hear her coming from a mile away. She sort of dragged and lifted the walker at the same time while she walked so it made a lot of noise; it didn't have wheels.

I remember she walked passed the double glass doors in the living room, looked through the glass, and then slowly made her way back to her room.

She started off using a cane when I was in elementary school. She used it to help her balance as she walked and I, quite frankly, hated it. I’m ashamed to admit that it was annoying and embarrassing. Why did my mom have to use a cane? No one else’s mom needed one. Why did my mom need one? Only old people use a cane and my mom was young. Why did she need a cane? I was a child and didn’t understand many things at the time. I simply cared about what others would say about my mom using a cane. Truth is, I’d give anything to see my mom use a cane today – to be out of her bed and slowly making her way through the hallway. It'd be nice to hear her coming from a mile away with her loud ass walker. The thought of it makes me giggle.

There's nothing I wouldn't give to take her to a restaurant on Mother’s Day (or any day, really). I don’t recall the last time my mom ate on her own. For the longest time she required assistance with eating. Due to her tremors she couldn’t hold her utensil and put food in her mouth without spilling some. That was embarrassing, too. I don’t know why I cared so much about what others thought about her – or should I say cared about what others thought about me.

Today, I’d do anything to help her eat – to hold the utensil and patiently wait for her to chew and swallow her food.

You see, my mom has a feeding tube now, so she doesn't eat table food anymore. The muscles in her throat have weakened throughout the years and she can't properly swallow her food. She used to have choking episodes on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis and it became too much of a liability for her care providers. It was also terrifying to watch her go through that. There's nothing more terrifying than watching someone you love turn purple and blue from lack of oxygen, so we agreed to the surgery. The doctors say it was the best decision we could have made for her. The choking episodes were causing her lungs to weaken due to aspiration of the food. We agreed to have it installed to prevent her from eventually suffering from pneumonia and/or choking altogether. Immediately after having surgery the conditions of her lungs improved.

Cheers to Mom

Even if I feel that her illness has taken over her body and robbed me (and my sisters) of any chance at a normal mother-daughter relationship, I’m extremely grateful she’s alive and still with us. What sucks is deeply wanting to do things we missed out on. We involuntarily grew up quickly in order to take care of her and take care of ourselves at the same time. Although, there is still pain from having missed out on so much, I truly believe I wouldn't be the woman and mother I am today. Thanks to my mom, I'm independent, friendly and if I may add, funny. My mom is kind and she has no wrinkles. Well, except that one worry wrinkle in the middle of her forehead that I, of course, inherited. See picture above for proof. Annoying. Anyway, my mom is patient and I don't recall her ever raising her voice at us. I desperately wish I could acquire the patience my mom had. Lord knows I'm quick to lose my sh*t when my kids don't act right. Not proud of that one, but I'm working on it. The last thing I know I inherited from my mom is resilience.

Unbeknownst to her, she's taught me to just keep going and be grateful for my life and my health.

I know others may not see my mom the way that I do. That's O.K. I love her very much and I'm so damn proud to be her daughter. Whether or not you have the best relationship with your mother, one thing I can tell you is to not take her for granted. Call her. Spend time with her. Love her. Forgive her.

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