Learning Compassion

A few weeks ago, Her Bad Mother and her friend David suggested doing an around the world meme on a simple topic: 5 things that I love about being a mom.  The project has picked up steam, with over 200 posts from 41 countries to date.  It’s really interesting to see what people have to say in these quick little snapshots.  While reading through a couple responses, I couldn’t help but compose my own.  And so, nearly 2 years after diagnosis and almost a year to the day after completing my treatment, I’m chiming in with what I love most about my life today, my life as mom:

1. Being woken up with joy, two little blond heads popping up over the edge of the bed, ready to start the day.

2. Spending mornings adventuring through the back woods of our neighborhood or the concrete jungles of downtown Washington, D.C., with tot friends and mom friends, confident in the acceptance and ease that comes with knowing you’ve all got the same interests and principles at heart (1. love kids. 2. help kids grow. 3. keep kids safe), though you may be so different in experience or heritage or plans for when the kids grow up.

3. Snuggling two sleepy little ones for afternoon nap, cuddled up in their beds reading book after book, and telling stories until they fall asleep.

4. The freedom I have to fill their days with digging in the dirt, squealing over wiggly worms, talking about how plants grow, and being there when they ask, “Why, Mommy?”

5. Watching with pride as one comforts the other after a stumble on the pavement. As I rush to cuddle and comfort the one who hurts, the other invariably gets there first, wrapping his tiny arms around his brother, dipping his little head on brother’s shoulder, and saying, “It’s okay, brudder. It’s okay.”

That last bit reflects hard-earned empathy for these children, these wonderful children who have grown through the tragedy that was a mama who couldn’t hold them when she was sick, couldn’t run with them through the wet grasses, couldn’t take them to see the world because she was sick in bed from chemotherapy. These children rallied, and comforted me as I comforted them, always loving, always careful, and being with them every moment possible, as they are the lights of my life. The empathy is hard-won for them, and while I regret that they had to go through so much, I am proud that for them it produced kindness, concern, and compassion for each other, for friends, for stray animals, and for their daddy and me when we stub our toe or burn a finger.

These children, these little children, are teaching me how to live.

And I am grateful.

Join the project — post your response to “5 things I love about being a mom” and David and Her Bad Mother will link you up. Don’t wait for a tag … by reading this, you can be sure that I’m tagging YOU.  I’m also specifically calling out Imstell, Laurie, Judy, Nicole, Rivka, Mary Beth, Sarah, Frances, Hedgie, Jenster, Jen, Lahdeedah, cancervisa, and scwrites, the active coauthors of this site.  C’mon, ladies, you’ve been through SO MUCH to earn this time with your kids … what do you revel in most?

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3 Responses to Learning Compassion

  1. My list is too long. Being a mom is everything to me.

    It took me over a year to realize that my blog is not a cancer blog. My blog is a mommy blog. It is about a mommy who just happens to be living with cancer.

    And that is why, of all the other group blogs out there, I gravitated towards this one. Because this is a communal mommy blog about a bunch of mommies who just happen to have or have had cancer.

    What defines us most is not our cancer but, rather, our roles as moms.

    Which is why I just can’t seem to sum up what I love about being a mom in five sentances.

    My entire blog is a testimony to what I love about being a mom. At the end of the day, as much as my blog is for me, it is really for my kids. Because what I love most about being a mom is just that: being a mom.

  2. whymommy says:

    Aw, Rivka!

    That is an awesome comment. Your kids are so lucky to have you!

  3. MamaShift says:

    Great post! Found you through the delicios page (http://delicious.com/80clicks). My post is also about being a post-cancer mama (http://travelshifts.blogspot.com/2009/04/world-according-to-mom.html).
    Best wishes to you on your journey!

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