On Saturday, I went on my second PMC training ride. I rode 45 miles, which puts me at approximately 7 weeks behind the training schedule. Yikes. The good news is that I felt great afterwards – both right after and the next day – and could have kept going had I not had places to go and people to see.
I got to experience my first major wipeout, courtesy of my ineptitude with the clipless pedals. Fell at an intersection. A few scrapes & bruises (including ego), but otherwise fine. Glad I was riding in the early AM, so no traffic. Otherwise, could have been worse.
I dedicated this training ride to my mother, Lily. Lily has had a Stage 1 cancer 3 times, in 3 different places. Around 10-15 years ago, she had a melanoma on her leg removed. I cringe whenever I think about the number of hours we clocked together on chaise lounges in Palm Beach in the 80’s (and see my dermatologist regularly). Two years ago, she had a stage 1 carcinoma removed from her lung (along with around 1/3 of that lung). And 2 months ago, she had a lumpectomy to remove a stage 1 tumor from her breast. Since bad things are supposed to happen in 3’s, perhaps cancer can look elsewhere now? Fortunately, Lily has great medical care, each cancer was detected at stage 1, and she was able to be treated and move on.
Cancer is the last thing that people think about when they see Lily. What they do think about is what a wonderful person she is. She is an especially good mother, and gets my vote for Best Mother in the World. If I had a dollar for every time a friend said, “You have the best mother,” or, wistfully, “My mother is not like your mother,” Colby and I would be doing our training in Fiji.
Lily is kind, compassionate, patient. I wish some of the patience had rubbed off on me, but, alas. (Lily always reminds me that there are other important qualities besides patience, and that I have many of those. Did I mention that she is a good mother?) I don’t think anyone has ever said, “You’re just like your mother,” but if they did, I would take it as a compliment. I think that my best qualities are because of her loving guidance and my bad ones are despite of it.
Lily is also one of the most generous and giving people I know. My best friend from childhood has remarked that she ate dinner at my house all the time growing up and every time she ate over, there was someone new at the table. That is because Lily (& Mike, my dad) have always offered their home to anyone who might be hungry or alone. Occasionally to an interesting degree…
Sometime in the 80’s a naval ship was docked in Boston on the Fourth of July. A local news station ran a story on the servicemen and noted that it would be nice for people to head in, show their support for the servicemen and perhaps take one to lunch. Well, that was not enough for Lily. She and her sister drove in, but instead of taking someone to lunch, they picked up 3 sailors and brought them back to our house for our annual July 4th pool party.
I’ll never forget her words to me after she brought the sailors home and settled them in out at the pool – “Get that look off your face!” (I couldn’t help it – I fully supported the armed forces, BUT I was 16 and still thought it was weird that she brought 3 sailor strangers to our family party) “These young men are putting their lives on the line for our country. It’s the least we can do. But let’s face it, we don’t know them from Adam. Now go inside and hide our purses and jewelry.”
Aaah, Lily. Loving and practical. The sailors turned out to be very nice and stayed for lunch, dinner, dessert, and almost breakfast. Nothing was stolen.
Lily is also fiercely loyal, and quite the Mama Bear. I probably don’t even fully comprehend how much it has improved my life to know that someone ALWAYS has my back, no matter what the circumstance.
One time in college, my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend snuck into my apartment and took my fake ID. He was the crazy jealous type and his reasoning was that without my fake ID, I would not be able to go to bars and meet other guys. Because, you know, guys aren’t anywhere else on a college campus. Or maybe he reasoned that a guy would need to be drunk to want to be with me. Who knows. Sadly for him, he chose to do it on a day that Lily was coming to pick me up for an afternoon of lunch and shopping at Lord & Taylor.
Now, Lily has never been a drinker – she has never been drunk in her life and if she has 3 glasses of wine in one year, that is a lot for her. She has never frequented bars and probably didn’t love that I did. However, in her awesome logic, breaking, entering & theft were far worse infractions than drinking on a fake ID (plus, I think she wanted me to have as many opportunities as possible to meet another boyfriend.). So, when she heard what happened, she grabbed me, we got into her car, and went hunting for Bad Boyfriend.
After a very low speed chase in her bottle green Cadillac Seville, she cornered him in an alley near my apartment. It was all very “Cagney & Lacey.” She ordered him into the car, demanded that he give me my fake ID back, drove him to his parents’ house and informed his mother that he needed psychiatric help. All in a mornings’ work for Lily. We proceeded immediately to Lord & Taylor and enjoyed our lunch and shopping therapy. I still can’t believe my mother chased someone down to get my fake ID back. Awesome.
The world needs people like Lily – kind and generous to a fault, naïve in all the best ways and savvy when necessary. She gives 100% of herself and always feels that she would rather give and be hurt than hold back and hurt someone else. While I took her selflessness for granted as a kid, once I reached adulthood I realized how rare it is to meet someone like that.
Thanks to advances in cancer research & treatment, Lily’s 3 bouts with cancer have been treatable and manageable, and I am so, so grateful. I’m thrilled to be able to pay it forward a little by riding in the Pan Mass Challenge.
Mom, this one was for you. I love you so, so much and am so glad you are here! Now, stop it with the cancer, ok?