In years past, we would celebrate Mother's Day by heading down to the coast with my brother's family and our parents. It was a vacation that he and his wife started a long time ago. It just sorta evolved into a family tradition. First it was just his family. Then my parents started going. Then we joined in. It became a ritual that my dad, my brother and I would run to the grocery store early Sunday morning to get bunches of roses for the mothers. And then everything changed last year. My brother was in the middle of chemotherapy and the holiday falls right before my finals. But my brother wanted it to happen, period. So he changed the date to one after my finals and it ended up being between his 4th and 5th rounds of chemotherapy. He felt great and it was a great joy to see him riding a body board in the small surf and building sand castles in the sand with his kids.
This year, my mom simply requested of me, "can you take dad to chemo so I can be here with my son?" My dad's chemo ended up not happening* so we spent a somber Mother's Day at my brother's house. Determined to make something not necessarily cheerful but meaningful out of it, my dad still made the morning run to the grocery store for roses. But instead of two sons, he took two grandsons. And my nephew stood in his dad's place and picked out roses for his dad to give to his mom.
**My dad's white counts were too low to go through another bout of chemo. That's not necessarily a bad or unusual thing and it provided the opportunity for my dad and I to spend more time with my brother. He received a shot of Neulasta to boost his infection fighting neutrophils and is due back in the doc's office in 10 days. In all probability, he'll start his third round of chemo then.