Now I know how my Momma felt
What are we going to do if it is cancer?
That is the question I kept asking myself earlier this week when I took my mother to the doctor for a cancer screening.
We were going to find answers, and we both were dreading the possibility that it could be cancer. With cancer running in our family, it was a diagnosis we were all too familiar with over the years.
But I kept my emotions to myself. I didn’t want Momma to see me worried, upset or concerned. I figured the last thing she needed to see was her daughter getting more emotional than her.
I cracked a few jokes, shared a few stories. But most importantly, I smiled. I just kept smiling even though inside I was worried to death.
When we got to the hospital, they put us in a small room while they asked Momma hundreds of questions and got her ready for her scope. The “c” word was never mentioned or discussed between Momma and me that morning.
They finally came in to take Momma to her screening.
“I’ll be back,” she said, with a worried look on her face. “I love you.”
“Love you,” I replied.
As soon as I knew they were down the hallway a safe distance, I held my head down and looked at my feet. I was still.
And then I just started to cry. Holding my face in my hands, I began to ask God to keep her safe. I begged Him not to let Momma have cancer. Coming from a single parent home, she was all I knew growing up. And I didn’t want her to be sick.
We have had our differences over the years, but she was still my Momma. And I didn’t want her to be in pain or struggling with cancer.
Then I realized how she must have felt about me.
A few seconds after we come into the world, we are quickly ushered away from our mothers. Mothers look on with anticipation, worry, excitement and love as their newborns are taken to the nursery to get cleaned up. It is the first of many times that mothers watch their children leave, unsure of what is going to happen.
Momma has sent me to “another room” hundreds of times in our lives together. She lets me go, not sure of what the future holds.
Momma cried the first time she dropped me off at daycare. She even took a picture of the day she dropped me off at school for the first time. She made the block a few times when she dropped me off at my first slumber party.
Momma let me go to learn, play and develop as a little girl.
As the years passed, Momma let me go on my own several more times.
Momma watched from the kitchen window as I took the family car out alone for the first time. She watched the clock and got ready for a long night when I went out with my friends alone on the weekends. Deep down, she wanted to pull me back in the house when she watched me leave with my first date.
She let me go to mature, make mistakes and learn from them.
As an adult, things didn’t change much.
Momma hugged me a little tighter when I left for college. After the car left her sight, she held her head down and cried a little.
Momma kept my number on speed dial when I moved to Yazoo City. I had fallen in love with a wild-eyed boy named Jason. She let me go then, but she knew marriage was in the near future. She said she could just tell.
But Momma said the hardest thing she ever had to do in her life was watch me leave with my new husband on our wedding day. She cried the entire wedding, but when the Rolls Royce carried her baby girl away to her new life, she knew the house and her life would seem like it was missing something.
A year later, Momma sat with worry as she left me in the room to have my first child. She kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me when the nurses said it was time for everyone to leave the room.
And now, I was letting her go. I sat in the room alone, with tears in my eyes. Unsure of what was going to happen but aware that she would be back.
I was so relieved when she returned with her results. There was no cancer, but there were a few treatable conditions that could be taken care of.
I never let my Momma know that I cried in the room that day when she went back. But I know there were times Momma hid her tears from me as well.
Now that I have my own children, I understand how my mother felt so many times when she had to let me go. It really hit home when I let my Momma go for a moment.
All you can do is let them go and pray that they learn, grow, love, develop and most importantly live.
Then you wait for their safe return.
And all you can do is smile.