My mother is dying. When it got to be too much at home we put her in hospice. Hospice, for those who are not familiar with the term, is a place where folks go to die. The criteria to enter are you have three-six months left to live with an expectation of no heroic measures. The goal is comfort and dignity in your final days. My brother and I camp out in the room with my mom. Me in the Murphy bed and him on the Lazy Boy. We fall asleep listening to her whisper to herself and hallucinate on the shadows she makes with her hands. My mom had lung cancer and it progressed to her brain, so she is not safe to be alone anymore. She could fall. She could leave and get lost. She could take all her clothes off and run the halls naked. So we move in to the tiny room with her.
Two summers ago I developed the rash of all rashes. There was only one medication the doctors told me would make it go away: prednisone. A steroid that crosses into breast milk. Breastfeeding was too important to me, so, I declined. That is -- until today. After almost 30 consecutive months of breastfeeding, I reclaimed my boobs.
I'm starting to accept that all the research in the world can't prepare you for the day-to-day realities of parenting, and that the parent you hope to be isn't necessarily the parent you will be when you are faced with the child you end up with -- who is, after all, an individual in his or her own right. What matters is that I am the right mother for him, and he is the perfect child for me.