A day to measure ... Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a special occasion, with each one more meaningful than the last. It has been a year since my own mom was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer. We were fortunate that it was found early, and at the same time, changed forever because of the imprint that it made. Surgery, scans, radiation, lymphedema, more scans...and finally good news ensued. We were lucky. This past year my mother-in-law has held a place in our home. She has brought a newfound meaning to togetherness, and I have learned a great deal from her determination and diligence. Through her eyes, I have seen what is like to feel grief and yet carry on with the hole that lost love leaves. I have witnessed her fierce protection, as well as her soft nurturing as she embraces her sons. She has been deemed "one hot granny" at some of the meetings where she has helped. To further that, she is the mother of my husband who is the kindest, gentlest soul I know. Again, I am lucky.From my own mom comes the importance of family, baking cookies and homemade apple pie, crafts, camping trips and bluegrass are fond memories. I've watched her care tirelessly for my father; cheering him on when everyone else had given up. When the world would tell my parents no, they in return shouted back YES! My mom exudes determination. She is compassionate and driven, loyal and loving, honest and kind. She made huge sacrifices and asked for nothing in return. When she retired after working for more than 30 years, the city named a day in her honor. I am proud to be her daughter and know that she gave me the strength to overcome hardships in life and at the same time left me with invaluable life lessons. I hope that in turn, I give her reason to smile and as I relive the many fun things we did together; I share them. There is great joy in sharing this special day with these two moms and now with three daughters of my own. From a handmade card with uneven hearts drawn across the page to early text messages, roses and a patio surprise, I realize how truly blessed I am to be surrounded, and living, with such amazing young ladies. Having been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer when they were 8 and 11, I never expected to share these years of memories with them. If it hadn't been for increased research and the development of new chemotherapy drugs and biologics, CyberKnife, RFA, radiation and my little magic beads (Sir-Spheres), I wouldn't have witnessed Katie become a successful entrepreneur or watched proudly as Karlie walked across the stage to receive her degree as an engineer. We wouldn't have added a little Chloe to the mix who, at 6, entertains and delights us every minute of every day. I am forever grateful to the moms of the doctors and researchers, nurses and even my friends who have given up so much of their own lives to make sure that others enjoy special days like these. It is because of their work that I am able to let myself dream in spite of cancer. I imagine weddings, careers and grandchildren and know that I will hold tight to every milestone in between. The miraculous, messy, wonderful, chaotic, crazy and fun times of togetherness are a gift to behold and I'm sure will contain memories passed from my kids to their kids and beyond. These times together are miracles that are mixed in between the minutes of each day and made even more special on this day...a time to share the reflections of recognition as a mom and the beauty and measure of motherhood. It is a day to treasure...Mother's Day.Suzanne Lindley has been living with metastatic colorectal cancer since 1998. She is the founder of YES! Beat Liver Tumors, an organization for individuals living with metastatic liver tumors, and an advocate for Fight Colorectal Cancer.