from Mia Marlowe…
No, I’m not talking about any of the fictional ladies I’ve read about or even the ones I’ve made up myself. I’m talking about my real life heroine, someone I respect and love very much. At the risk of sounding maudlin, it’s my mom.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing between us. I was terribly jealous of her when I was a chubby pre-teen. At that time she had a successful modeling career and her picture appeared in the Des Moines Register almost every week, demonstrating the correct form for an exercise column. She was so lovely, so slender, so . . . infuriatingly perfect! It was very hard to be a spotty-faced adolescent with such feminine excellence in the house.
I consoled myself with the thought that beauty is only skin deep.
However, I learned in my mother’s case that beauty runs clear to the bone. Unfortunately, it took a health crisis to pound that into my head. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. When the rest of us were threatening to fall apart over it, my mom was a rock. This was during the time when Walter Payton was in need of a transplant and looking for a donor. As my mother was wheeled off for surgery, she sang out, cheerful as a lark, “If anything happens, give my liver to that football player!”
Then came almost a year of chemo and radiation. She lost her glorious hair, but she didn’t let that stop her. She went out and bought enough wigs to wear a different one every day of the week. Cancer was no reason to give up her love of bling. She always dressed to the nines when she left the house. Through the weakness brought on by her virulent treatments, she stayed strong on the inside. Her courage and faith gave the rest of the family strength. Even though she was the one whose life was on the line, she was always concerned first and foremost about how we were doing.
And I realized I’d always underestimated her. I thought her physical beauty was her defining quality. Instead it’s her indomitable spirit, her good humor and her will of iron.
I’m thrilled to report that she’s now 14 years cancer free and best of all, today is her birthday! So please send my mom a mental “Happy Birthday!” and make sure you’re current on your mammograms. She’d be the first to tell you to take care of yourself and that early detection is the key to a cure. Her “other-centeredness” is one of the many reasons she’s my favorite heroine and always will be.
Now it’s your turn to share. What woman (real or fictional) has influenced you and made a difference in your life? Who’s your favorite heroine?