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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Never say NEVER.......especially when it comes to Cancer, Tattoos and a tough Mother-in-Law.

To find humor in this journey through Breast Cancer we've been on with my Mother-in-Law, Barbara, is a true gift.  Today as she is preparing to head out to her first radiation therapy treatment, I had to call her to give her my love and support.  In the midst of this call, it turned into a side-splitting, tears rolling down your face laughfest. 

Let me give you a little background -- when I first started dating Keil and was set to meet his parents for the first time, he nervously asked me if I had any tattoos.   Then I met Barbara -- whew!  She immediately asked me if I had any tattoos and told me to spit out my gum.  Yep, she really did that.  Luckily I passed the test with no tattoos.  Barbara hates tattoos....I mean with a passion.  So much so that she told us if either of her boys got one she would disown them.  Yep, she really said that.  Well it turns out that when both Kurt and Keil got tattoos they both were scared to tell their Mother.   Well, sure enough, she found out about their tattoos!  Needless to say, she was not a happy camper and had some choice curse words for both Ritterpusch Boys but they just laughed at her like they always do.  She will tell you time and time again about her distaste for tattoos and even has the fear of wrath in Kate about them -- which I am secretly thankful for.

So fast forward to last week when her radiation oncologist told her they had to tattoo several small dots on one of her girly parts for the radiation therapy.  I could tell she wasn't in a joking kind of mood that day, so I was a supportive listener.  Today I had to tease her, so I asked her about her stance on tattoos now.....and not to worry I wouldn't tell her Boys or Kate.  As we were laughing, she said to me, "Well, Ang.....Never Say Never, right?"

It is no secret that Barbara and I have had our extreme ups and downs learning to love one another, especially in the beginning.  She has two sons, so having a very girly daughter-in-law and then here comes Kate,  her first-born grandchild, the ultimate girly-girl.  I think we put her into shock!  Years ago, in the midst of a very bad time with her, one of my dear friends told me to relax, it would get better, having Kate would change everything, one day I would love her as I do my own mother.  I remember being so head-strong and adamant and told my friend "NEVER!"

Through the years, I have grown to love her as I do my own mother.  I rely on her strength when it comes to her strong-willed grandson as she raised a son that was exactly the same way.  I am thankful to her everyday for raising Keil to be such a good husband and father.  I envy her resolve to kick this Cancer's ass every day until it's gone from her body.  I cherish all the ways she fiercely loves and adores these two little Ritterpusches of mine.  I have grown to love her quirkiness and harsh talk.  I love to watch her tough shell crumble when she sees her sons or grandchildren.  I adore the way my kids shriek when they get to see their Mimi.  She is a problem-solver like no other woman I know.  I get pure delight in watching her glide out of that convertible Mercedes in her full-length fur coat, velour running suit, precious white dog on her arm while smoking a cigarette and telling Keil he needs to pull the weeds out of the flower beds.  I love that we have learned to love one another so completely and unconditionally.

The truth is, like her and the tattoos, I should have never said never when it came to loving her.  The truth is, I adore her.

I pray every day for her to beat this cancer, after all she has grandchildren that need her there for school plays, swim meets, birthdays, holidays, graduations and even weddings someday!  Don't even get me started on all the ways that her husband, her sons and I all need her....I would be writing for weeks!

So if you get a spare moment today and you happen to be offering up prayers, please say a little one for my Mother-in-Law as she begins her radiation today. 


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