My mom has been in the hospital for the last fifty days. I would have already freaked out several times by now, but not my mom. She just smiles and makes the best of each day. She does her crosswords and her coloring. She prepares her Zoom bible study lessons. Talks to friends and family on the phone. She has Zoom meetings every couple of weeks with her siblings. She watches Blue Bloods, ABC News, and the Food Network. She chats with whichever of her children is visiting that day. And she plans her meals (the highlight of a long term hospital stay, I assure you).
And she makes friends with everyone who takes care of her, from the nutrition workers, housekeepers and nurse techs, to the respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and doctors. She treats everyone with love and respect (though she does not always receive it in kind) and they all come to love her in return. Having watched my mom work her magic over the years, I never realized what a special kind of charm it is until this trip home. I just always thought, “Well, that’s just Mom”—everyone loves her.
The fact is that many people do not love her immediately because of the size of her body, and over the years she’s won them over with kindness, humor, and genuine warmth. I think that if my mom was in an average -sized body people would treat her kindly as a default and she would not have to work so hard at winning them over. Not that my mom is doing anything wrong or that this is not who she really is. She is that kind. She is that loving. She is that funny. She is that charming.
I just wish that her very survival in this world did not depend on her always being a delight. That she could just have a crappy day without worrying that her care won’t be compromised in some way. I wish that people would stop going out of their way to remind her that her being in a larger body is unacceptable to them. That strangers would stop demeaning and insulting her in public and private. I want a world where no one ever comments on the size of another one’s body.
Until that day comes, here is a picture of my beautiful Mom and sisters in happier times:
Thank you, as always, for reading.