One evening last week Kevin and I went to see a speaker at the Jewish Community Center. On the walk home we stopped at a quiet bar and had a glass of wine. We spent an hour lamenting that this was going to be the best times of our lives. A time when our kids are old enough to be able to enjoy sharing things with them like museums and concerts and travel, and yet young enough that they still want to spend entire weekends with us. We know we're in that sweet spot as parents where our kids really want to hang out with us and we really want to hang out with them. We know it won't last. It's not much longer before they start to push us away. We were getting nostalgic for a time that hadn't even passed yet.
And then tonight I found out that a mother of a boy in Holden's first grade class passed away after a relatively short battle with cancer. Less than six months ago she and I were working on a library project together, before she even knew she was sick. We would chat almost daily at drop-off or pick-up and I remember thinking that it was so obvious how much she loved her children. She lingered with them at drop-off long after other hurried parents had rushed off to work, holding them. Before she even knew that she wouldn't live to see another Mother's Day.
I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer the very first thought that went through my head was, at least it's me and not one of my children. I thought that every day throughout my recovery. I know that's how she felt as well. Not because she told me so, but because we're both mothers. That's what being a mother is - loving someone else infinitely more than you love yourself.