Monday, November 18, 2002

Damnit, my mother almost made me cry today. And, I don't cry - ever.

My mom is one of the world's cheapest people. She hates parting with money. HATES it. I don't say it to be mean, but rather instead because it's true. I grew up thinking we were poor because she's so cheap, and we were never poor at all.

Today, out of nowhere, she looks at me and says: "Do you have a piggy bank?" And I said: "Umm....probably in my closet somewhere. What for?" And she said: "Cause I want to start giving you $5 a week for Europe." And it choked me up, it really did.

I know $5 a week isn't a lot of money, especially considering her monetary intake. But it was the sort of gift that actually hurts to give, and that's the best sort of gift of all. Usually I consider money a sort of cold gift. From anybody else in the world it would be. But from mom it's...amazing.

See, my mother has two terminal illnesses. She's on gobs of medicine for it, and those bills add up. But more than they add up, there's always the threat that things will get worse. Over the last four years, my mom's undergone, I'd estimate at least 15 fairly serious surgeries, and two nearly fatal ones. At the moment, she's seeing the best test results she's ever seen. But there's always the possibility of relapse, and that's never far from any of our minds. It can't be when you know very well that because of her immuno-suppressive drugs, every slight cough or runny nose you bring into the house could end up her last.

That my mom would commit to giving me money on a regular basis equates to a kind of unselfishness the world seldom sees. She's denying her own security for my adventure, and I'll be damned if I'll forget it. With the money she's committed to giving me over time, I can either pay for most of my plane ticket or a rail pass. That's a huge help.


Could this week get any better?