So, my mom turned 80 yesterday and we're so thankful that she's around to celebrate! I was longing like crazy to be home with her but that big 'ol ocean and a couple of continents kept us separated. We had some nice phone conversations and I was happy to encourage her on this special day. As most know, my mom's been fighting ovarian cancer for 3 years. In fact, she started chemotherapy on her birthday 3 years ago. It's been a rough road but she's done remarkably well. After a year of remission, the cancer came back and so she went back on chemotherapy about a month ago. This time her Dr. is trying an oral chemo that is having a good effect on the cancer activity and not wiping my mom out quite so much. Still...you live with cancer in such a delicate and precarious way. My dad has been a trooper, continuing to care for her needs and hang in there through the ups and the downs. Being the partner is not such an easy role either and he handles the hard stuff with amazing grace. I deeply admire the way they continue to care for one another and share in life no matter the twists and turns. With my 16th wedding anniversary looming later this month, I can only hope that Doug and I will be able to love one another and stick by one another with such grace, hope and love. They are remarkable and I so deeply admire the way they are truly living into the wedding vows they took 52.5 years ago.
Now, because of the chemo, my mom has lost her hair again. She's a remarkably good looking bald woman and an inspiration to all who suffer from this side effect. She has like zero vanity issues and just lives into her appearance. It makes her all the more beautiful and I have great respect and admiration for the way she handles the tough stuff that cancer brings into their lives My father has been, shall we say, hair-impaired for many years now. He has a great sense of humor and has always made good jokes about my mom joining him on the hair loss front. So, you can imagine how amused I was to receive this photograph this morning with the title "Twins! and the caption, "AND THE MULLEN TWINS CELEBRATE 80TH BIRTHDAY TOGETHER!" I just love that in spite of the challenges that cancer brings, they are still figuring out a way to love one another faithfully as well as laugh when the other laughs and cry when the other cries. I love them both for who they are and the ways in which they encourage others with their joy, care and hope.