“REFRAMING MOTHERHOOD“: As we continue with our MamaBlogger365 we’ll be bringing you the voices of mothers from around the word! Please write us at MamazinaMagazine@gmail.com to participate. We ARE looking for more contributors. MamaBlogger365 initiative posted to raise awareness and funds for the Motherhood Museum.org at M.O.M. here.
The Chinese character for “crisis” is a mixture of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity”. So, when my life felt endangered this week, by a mole in my eye, God, in His mercy turned it into an opportunity — An opportunity to appreciate life as never before. I thought I was over the “it can’t happen to me” attitude when I had a daughter with Down syndrome, something that happens in about 1% of births to women in their thirties. I knew it could happen to me! I have two friends, Lisa and Pat, who are breast cancer survivors, and another– Mary who wasn’t. I, like Mary, could die in my late forties, if God willed it.
I was taken aback when the ophthalmologist told me I could have a uveal melanoma in my right eye, near the optic nerve, and that removing it (which might be necessary to save my life) could destroy the vision in that eye. I was paralyzed with fear, in my bed, watching life pass before my eyes.
It took the prayers of my little saint, and many of you to get me back on my feet. Then a check up at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary told me it wasn’t cancerous. Yet. I made an appointment to return relieved that the spot wasn’t cancer but wishing to be done with this threat on my life was not to be.
Yesterday, Francisco took me into Boston and the re-check was good news, the ‘freckle’ has not changed. But I was dismayed to hear that I’ll be doing this for he rest of my life. Visiting Boston every six months for intensive and expensive eye examinations. This spot could change and threaten my life or vision at any time. It was hard to accept, even in the midst of gratitude for a reprieve. And a reprieve it is, for now. So I returned home with a renewed appreciation for the gifts I have been given: The gift of family, the gift of beauty around me and the gift of faith. .
We ate lunch in the hospital cafeteria, overlooking Cambridge on the Charles River, eating hot chicken soup mindful of the icy winds whipping up waves on the water below. Boston is a city with happy memories. I realized that it had been far too long since my husband and I were together in a big city. When we were single, and my husband Francisco was just getting his green card at Immigration in Lower Manhattan in 1991, we picked up my engagement ring on Canal Street. He didn’t put in on my finger in the store, but waited until we were in the multilingual bustle of a cafe in Little Italy. He slipped in on my finger, and, to his horror, the conversation halted; all eyes turned on us as smiles turned to applause. It was one of the highlights of my life, and walking homeward through Little Italy, as huge soft snowflakes fell, I felt as though I could fly.
Yesterday was just as magical. Driving home through the Connecticut countryside, we took scenic Route 169 past rolling hills, dairy farms and quaint antique shops, and though it was sunny, snowflakes filled the air. I was playing music in the car. It was another moment of perfection in our lives. We surprised my daughter Christina by picking her up at school and she yelled, “Daddy” and threw herself into his arms. Her entire class greeted her as they filed by, and we arrived home to a roaring fire and contented family.
Mom was going to be all right, for now. Life is good. Life is very good. Deo gratias.
MamaBlogger365 Joy Rose says, sometimes it’s not about ‘reframing’ issues, or being an activist for change everyday. Some of the most important moments in life have to do with the love we feel for those around us, and the gratitude we feel for the miracle of good health. Martin Luther King was a man who understood deeply, the courage of faith working in his life. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Raising children, keeping sane, sharing the big picture, when all you can do is put the next foot in front of you. This is what Leticia has shared with us today.
Bio: Leticia Valasquez is a mother of three lovely daughters, Gabriela,16, Isabella,12, and Christina, 7, with Down Syndrome. She has written for: The National Catholic Register, Faith and Family, Celebrate Life, Canticle, National Catholic Reporter, Queen of All Hearts magazines, as well as in my diocesan newspaper, Four County Catholic. You may find also find her blogging for Mamazina and online at Catholic Online, Catholic Mom, Catholic.net, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Vote, and MercatorNet. Her blog is: The Cause Of Our Joy
More elaboration on Chinese characters representing ‘Danger & Opportunity’ here.