I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, and I hope to see a great deal more. But, what I never thought I’d see is my parents weaken. Of course, I expected to see them age and slow down, but just not weaken as they got older. To even say a derivative of the word weak, in reference to my mom and dad, doesn’t sound right. I grew up an only child who enjoyed talking, dining, watching TV, playing cards and vacationing with my parents. They were curious, outgoing, and fearless during my formative years.
My mom worked as a teacher and my dad an entrepreneur. They grew up in neighboring Southern towns, each still today with populations less than 4K people. They moved to one of the biggest Northern U.S. cities to create a more prosperous and experiential life for themselves. Strength, determination and drive is what they always exuded, and what they always taught me. They made me the MAG woman I am today.
10 years ago, I got a call that my mom had been hospitalized due to a massive stroke. She couldn’t walk or talk, and doctors weren’t sure if she ever would again. As a MAG, I pride myself on being in control…of absolutely EVERYTHING. But, then I had no control. My career was on an upward trajectory, and I was supposed to speak on a panel the very next day in front of 400 industry executives. How could I do that and tend to my mom at the same time. Well, a MAG just needs to know when to make a choice. And I did. It was an unpopular choice for my boss, who asked, “could you do the panel and then fly out?” While I didn’t say it aloud, in my head I said, “Hell, no!”. The audacity. Immediately, I flew to see my mom. It was what I needed to do – not only for her and for my dad, but for me!
After arriving at the hospital in my hometown, I felt even more helpless than I did on the two-hour flight there. All I wanted to do was crawl into the hospital bed with my mom. So, that’s exactly what I did. I was like the five-year-old child who fell off of her purple Schwinn bike years back and broke her arm. I wanted my mom to make it all better. But, this time she couldn’t. I had to make it better for her and for my dad, who saw his life partner of 40 plus years in such distress. So after a good cry (actually sobbing) and experiencing the most wrenching pain deep in my stomach and in my heart, this MAG said to herself, “Get it together….and get it together fast!” I had a long road ahead. Questions to ask physicians, decisions to make with my dad, a father to console, a recovery plan to build, and much more. I needed to MAG Up and keep it moving.
Lesson: It may take a ‘minute’ to recalibrate yourself, as occasionally a MAG second guesses herself when faced with a life-altering situation; and sometimes a MAG even reverts to childhood. But, then she bounces back – quickly. That’s the sign of fortitude, strength and MAGness. More to come…