My mother isn’t perfect. I don’t think she ever tried to be. And, now that I am an adult, I really enjoy giving her a hard time about how she is obviously responsible for everything that is wrong with me today. I mean, who do you think taught me how to shop my feelings away?? But, for all that it is worth, she is also responsible for a good chunk of the things that, I think, are pretty amazing about me too.
Back in the 80’s, long before there was real data about children’s mental health or how kids cope through divorce (I was the only kid in my class for nearly 4 years who had divorced parents), my mom knew how important it was to help my sister and me cope. Even with all of the stigma, the lack of resources, and the naysayers, my mom took me to a counselor. He wasn’t a great counselor and I can’t even say that I remember all that much about him. However, the actual process of knowing that there was a safe space where it was okay to be emotional and it was okay to get angry set me on a path for learning how to properly cope with various situations. My mom knew I needed that.
She also had enough insight into who I was as a person to know that I probably also needed some “out-of-the-box” strategies as well. She talked to teachers and school counselors and, together, they helped me discover a love for creative writing. It started with poems and short stories as a child and turned into journaling and blogging as an adult. Writing has been there for me through every struggle in my life all because my mom cared enough to put her struggles aside and pay attention to the needs of her children. For that, I am forever grateful.
And now, because I learned early that counseling helps, I strive every day to be the counselor who puts their client first, who helps families who are struggling, and who empowers kids to think “outside-the-box” and figure out what works for them. I love knowing that I am helping others find their safe space to be who they are.
Throughout my life, my mother has been able to transform into the role that I needed her to play. As I grew up and went through the typical (and sometimes terrible) developmental stages that all girls go through, my mom managed to be a caregiver, a regulator, a complete embarrassment, a soft shoulder to cry on, a warm body to snuggle up to, an enemy to battle, a distant observer, a confidant and secret-keeper, a friend, and now, a fellow mother who can offer support and guidance.
Tomorrow, however, both of our roles will shift. Tomorrow, my mother, the forever-teacher who makes me giggle because she still tries to turn vacations into learning experiences, is having brain surgery.
Recently, doctors discovered that she has an aneurysm that is sitting on her optic nerve. It has caused some pretty drastic vision impairment (which is, fortunately, how they discovered it).
A few days from now, my sister and I become the caregivers. We will now be the worriers, the hand-holders, and the supporters- like she has been for us for our entire lives. I am doing my best to maintain my composure. I have researched the surgery and the surgeon more times than I care to admit. I have tried to help my mother stay positive, encouraged her to talk about fears, and I try to keep reminding her (and myself) to take one step at a time.
As a counselor, this should be easy for me. But as a mother and a daughter, I am freaking out inside. So, I would like to make a request for anyone who reads this… please pray for her. Please think about her. Please send positive vibes and good thoughts to Asheville, NC. Please post comments and send well wishes because my mother, forever the extrovert, would love it. And she needs all the encouragement and strength that she can get right now. And I might just need a little bit of it too.
Posted on May 28, 2015, in Mom Stuff and tagged Asheville, Brain Surgery, counselor, divorce, good vibes, Mom, prayer. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.
Your neighbors are here for you and any help you or your family might need! And sending all the good thoughts and positive vibes I can muster to Asheville. Hoping that your mom’s surgery goes smoothly and that her recovery is as uneventful as possible.
I have known Kathy since we were kids in Franklin, and her dad was my dad’s good friend. My mama worked at the phone company with Barbara Jean, too, so we go way back. I have been praying for Kathy since I heard of her troubles. I trust she will be an excellent patient and recover quickly. Hang in there! — Terri Hunter
I worked with you mom during my first few years of teaching at Jones. She is a wonderful woman! I will be sending her all my good thoughts. I hope she has a full recovery.
Sending every positive thought and vibe I can muster! Thinking of you, your mom, and your sister! Hoping her surgery goes smoothly!
Callie, your Mom was my best friend from elementary school thru high school and was my Maid of Honor in my wedding! She was always there for me too. Oh… The things I could tell you, if only I could remember all of them! But time moved on and we sort of lost touch but I saw you girls grow up because she never forgot to send me a Christmas card with your pictures! My prayers are with her and will be waiting to hear good news when this is over.
Callie, you know that I am here not only for your Mom, but for you and Rachel, too!! Call me if you need anything….(your Mom has my number)! Your blog brought tears to my eyes, so honest and refreshing!! Proud of you and yes, it is very difficult when the roles reverse and you become the caregiver, but what an honor to be able to be her caregiver for a few days…..when she needs to be grounded, call me….I can do it! Love you and Rachel!
What a beautiful Brutally Honest script this time. Wow! I’m very touched by this, Callie. Hoping for the best of the best outcomes tomorrow. This mother deserves it!
I don’t know you but after reading this, I feel as though I do. I am originally from Canton and have relatives in Asheville and Franklin. Please keep us informed of you mom ‘s condition. My husband had an abdominal aneurysm about 10 years ago. He is fine but I know there are more medical knowledge now than then. She will pull through. I really like your mom. Keep in touch.
I am a ruptured brain aneurysm survivor—-11 years out. While in rehab, I was told I had an unruptured aneurysm that they wanted to clip. They said the surgery for one that has not ruptured, was assembly line surgery. Don’t know if that is comforting (at the time I didn’t think so), but the recovery time was so much quicker—days vs weeks—than for the ruptured aneurysm. I am sooooo thankful they did the 2nd surgery (a few months later), as it was ready to implode. I came back from both experiences 100%. Positive thoughts headed your way. Tell your mother she’s been given a 2nd chance, and to LIVE, not just survive.
Thank you! Thank you! That is very comforting information and I so appreciate you sharing. I will let my mom know!
I echo Callie’s response, Susie! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your testimony is very reassuring and comforting. I love my life–well not just mine but life! You are the first person (except the doctor) that has told me recovery is quick. Congrats on your survival. I will be glad when I am on the other side of this!
May God watch over you all through this……
Kathy and I were friends in high school and college. Unfortunately I moved away to the frozen north and have lost contact over the years until becoming Facebook friends. What a wonderful job you have done on your blog. I am sure your Mom is very proud of you and how you use your life’s experiences to help others. I just today learned of the aneurysm and the surgery tomorrow. You all will be in our prayers. Tomorrow we will expect to hear good news!
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