Happy Birthday, Mom
Just got back from seeing my mom in San Jose. It was a bit bittersweet: it was great to see her, but it was hard to see how much the pneumonia has sapped her both physically and emotionally, as she was noticeably more worn and weak than when I last saw her in September. She is making progress every day, in terms of both her antiobiotics regimen and her ability to breathe without being strapped to a ventilator. But it'll be a long, difficult, and slow haul.
Early on the first morning Jada and I were in town, we made a beeline for the hospital, partly because we were eager to see her, but partly because the hospital doesn't really allow visitors under 14 during flu season, so we figured we'd have more success getting in and out before the place started to fill up.
Mom noticeably brightened when she saw us, and this on a day in which she was heavily sedated. My favorite moment, which still gets me a little misty-eyed thinking about it, was catching her smiling at me as I was smiling at Jada. There was so much packed into that one little smile of hers: happiness to see me, and happiness that I was taking such delight in my daughter.
My mom is, of course, my standard for motherhood. And this incident epitomized both my mom in particular and motherhood in general: taking pleasure most of all in loving one's children, and in knowing more broadly that children are being loved.
Today is my mom's birthday. So I want to wish her a happy birthday, and express my gratefulness that we got to see her, and that, even lying in a hospital bed, she continues to teach me what it means to be a loving parent.
PS You can read more dispatches from the home front over at huangkids.blogspot.com.