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Thank You, Mom, for Taking Care of Me When I’m Sick

May 8, 2012
6 min read
Krissy Gallagher and her son, Austin

May 2015 update: Krissy Dietrich Gallagher is a Cleveland mother of two boys, Braedan, 11, and Austin, 8. In July 2007, at the age of 10 months, Austin was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms tumor, a type of cancer in children that affected both his kidneys. Today, Austin is a relatively healthy, extremely happy and remarkably normal 8-year-old, despite living with stage 3 renal failure as a result of his childhood cancer treatment. The post below was adapted from one Krissy wrote for Mother’s Day 2010.

Moms do things selflessly.

We sacrifice our free time, our career goals, our neat homes, and our hot bodies for the sake of our children. We sometimes do it begrudgingly, but we do it nonetheless. And we rarely get thanked for it, nor do we even expect to.

But after watching this video from author Kelly Corrigan about the thank-you note that moms really want and deserve from their children on Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but add a few of my own. Of course, I will keep doing all that I do whether I get thanked or not, as we all will, but it sure is nice to imagine.

Thank you, mom, for taking care of me day and night,
for holding me and rocking me back to sleep at 3 in the morning when I’m woken by some stranger taking my blood pressure.

Thank you for sleeping with me in my (very narrow) hospital bed, even though it means you can’t roll over or you’ll get tangled in my IV lines. And thank you for learning very early on how to silence the IV pump machine when it beeps, usually just as soon as I’ve dozed off to sleep.

Thank you for remembering all my medications and making sure I get just the right dose at just the right time of day, and for turning it into a game or a race so it somehow feels fun, like when you take a Tums right along with me before I eat my phosphorous-filled cheesy meals so we can be “Tums buddies.”

Austin and his family.

Thank you, mom, for always (or, at least, often) packing the right lunch and snacks and books and toys to keep me fed and entertained through hour after hour and day after day in the hospital.

Thank you for never failing to flush my PICC line every eight hours, even when that eight-hour mark comes at midnight and you’ve just crawled into your warm, cozy bed. And speaking of that bed, thank you for scooting over so I can squeeze in between you and Dad when I feel scared in the night.


Krissy and her sons.

Thank you for treating me like a regular kid and letting me climb the rock wall and fall down and get hurt, even when my platelets are low and my legs are already covered with purple welts.

Thank you for not letting me get away with everything just because I’m sick and for laying the foundation for my future because you fully expect me to have one.

Thank you, mom, for not forgetting about me, your healthy son. Thank you for making sure I always have fun playdates when you’re at Austin’s appointments and for giving me veto power over whose house I go to, no matter how desperate you are.

Thank you for emailing my teacher at the last minute so I’m not too surprised by who’s picking me up from school on unexpectedly long hospital days.

Thank you, mom, for waking up early to bake homemade bread for the Teacher Appreciation Brunch, even though you have a perfect excuse for not participating in any PTA events.

Thank you for running back home to get my library book on library day so I can check out a new one.

Thank you for patiently explaining to my kindergarten classmates how cancer is like a weed in a garden and then listening, also patiently, to their endless and completely unrelated stories about pulling weeds with their grandmas.

Thank you for arranging for friends to secretly take me swimming all summer because Austin can’t get his PICC line wet, and for sneaking yogurts into my lunchbox so I can eat them away from the watchful and (understandably) jealous eyes of my brother, who follows a ridiculously limited diet.

Austin, on left, and Braedan, on right, are all smiles on the swings

Austin, on left, and Braedan, on right, are all smiles on the swings

Oh, and speaking of jealous, thank you for listening with respect and not getting too mad when I whine and I say I’m jealous of him because he gets to ride a tricycle around the hospital hallways when I have to go home and go to bed.

Thank you, mom, for letting me know that I matter too and for making sure I’m remembered and heard and loved.

And thank you to my mom for always managing to fit in a several-hour visit to the hospital every single day we’re there, no matter how busy you are.

Thank you for canceling fancy overseas bike trips with Dad so you can both be close by to support us.

Thank you for shooing me away from eight-hour blood transfusions and sending me home to shower, even if Austin is screaming in your arms as I leave. Thank you for reassuring me that he will be OK in my absence, and for always telling me how OK he actually was when I get back.

And thank you for valuing my daily workout as much as I do and making sure I have time to go for a run.

Thank you for having Braedan sleep over and getting him off to school and making your home feel like his home.

Thank you for loving every second you spend with Austin in your arms and for making it seem like I’m giving you a gift when you’re really doing me a favor.

Thank you, mom, for taking care of me when I’m sick.

And thank you, mom, for taking care of me when my brother is sick.

And thank you, my mom, for taking care of me when my son is sick.

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