First off, happy Mothers’ Day. And even though it seems silly to only dedicate one day to mothers, at least there is one. We had the good fortune to spend ours with three generations of mothers… grandma, mom and sister… and to see how amazing the generational transfer of love can be. Our family is very close and fiercely devoted to one-another and our spouses are the same way.
As I’ve had the chance to be around the “married-ins” and their respective families, a pattern of strong women has emerged. Maybe it’s this way all over, but the mothers in my immediate line of site are absolutely incredible. The most recent mother in the group is Katie, sister of my brother’s wife, Meghan. Don’t bother me about the details of the genealogy, she’s family.
On April 17, 2009, while Tammy and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, Katie and her husband Ryan were basking in the glow of the arrival of twins, Koy and Kadyn. We got the phone call that everyone was doing fine and soon received pictures via email that made our hearts melt. The world was good and Katie and Ryan immediately took to the role of warm, loving parents that everyone knew they would. Then the news came.
Little Kadyn was having difficulty eating and all the other things newborns are supposed to do. A series of tests revealed a Cystic Fibrosis (CF) diagnosis. (Learn more about the disease here CFF.org ). Understandably so, the family members we spoke to were distraught and heartbroken… except for Katie and Ryan. By all accounts, within moments of hearing the news and allowing it to fully sink in, they moved on. Actually, it might be better to say, the moved forward.
Instead of drifting to the easy path of, “woe is me, why my baby, why me”, they chose the path of greater resistance and opportunity. We heard phrases like, “God will not give us anything that we cannot handle,” and “now she will be a champion for CF and move mountains for others with the disease.” Seriously, no pity required.
Katie made the decision that no crying of sorrow was allowed in the hospital because it wouldn’t do anyone any good. That was bad news for my brother and Katie’s dad, but she let them visit anyway.
The thinking was simple and profound, Kadyn is not here to be felt sorry for. She is here to be loved, encouraged and marveled at. And that is where this whole post started, the strength of a mom. Unlike most strong fathers who think that their contribution to the family is all in the present (to prevent harm and fix whatever is wrong), strong mothers have a feel for where things are headed and how the present impacts the future.
Story after story came back from the hospital of Katie’s strength and attitude (Ryan too, but this is Mother’s Day). For me, the reports made me feel great, to hear that she could have such perspective. I have to admit though, I held some concern about whether or not she was holding back the grief and maybe faking it a little, until we saw her today.
Fresh from visiting the ICU, Kadyn still needs the monitoring and attention, Katie and Koy came into our little mommy celebration and all doubt lifted. We talked about how awesome it is to be able to feel that much love, losing the baby fat, and how blown away she has been by how much the men in her life cry. Through the entire visit, I never once suspected any falseness in her attitude.
Katie is a mom now, fully engaged in the present of her children with a keen eye turned to the future. The choice has been made and the focus is on opportunities, not pitfalls. The talk will not be about how the disease gives Kadyn limits, but about how much life she can put in to every day.
Break free from your self-imposed limitations and see life for the wonderful trip that it is. Thanks for the example Katie and God bless all moms. You are amazing.
Be your best,