The Waters of Life May Change, but a Mother’s Love is Constant

a young girl in a wheelchair laughing with her mom

Elena and her mother, Rosa.

I started taking swimming classes at the local YMCA when I was six months old, and those lessons continued throughout my childhood. When I graduated to the “big pool,” the water was much colder and I spent most of my time shivering, complaining, and wanting to get out.

So, one of my favorite childhood memories of my own mother was when she would stand at the end of the shower and hold open a fresh towel and greet me with a huge smile. I’d scamper over to her, and she would hug me with a dry soft towel and keep hugging me until I warmed up.

Thirty years later, I still remember how loved and protected I felt in my mother’s arms. As I witness my own wife, Rosa, serve as her role as mother to Elena, who is non-verbal and non ambulatory, I see similar acts of simple daily love and care for our daughter.

As I am writing this right now, my wife and my daughter are both snuggled together sleeping on the couch. It’s truly beautiful, and I hope our daughter Elena remembers loving experiences such as this for the next thirty years.

I have to be honest with you, though. It’s not always that simple. Life is seldom this peaceful. My wife spends countless hours going to medical appointments and physical therapy with Elena, ordering prescriptions, administering between three and five medications three times each day, lifting, bathing, cleaning, feeding, entertaining, and worrying. These two are currently napping on the couch, but it wasn’t that long ago they were both napping in a hospital bed.

Elena was hospitalized a little over a year ago, and Rosa was by her side for two months comforting her, attentively listening to the medical team, and simultaneously emailing colleagues in the Spanish department where she teaches so that her high school students could stay on track.

Indeed, both Elena and Rosa are impressive in their own right, and although being a parent is incredibly frustrating, exhausting and full of worry, it’s also beautiful. Our daughter is a joy to be around and I know that she feels just as loved as I did when I was wrapped up in a towel in my own mother’s arms.

So, when people ask me if we are going to do anything for mother’s day like brunch or have people over, the answer is always a “no.” To show our love on Mother’s Day, Elena and I will leave mommy alone in the hopes that she can nap, read a book, or just enjoy peace and quiet. Regardless of how Rosa spends her mother’s day, Elena and I want her to know how thankful we both are that she is in our lives.


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