The song, ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch’ played on my cell phone. Oh, I knew the song was corny but I liked it. It was my daughter, Kari.
"Hi honey," I answered "Just wanted to remind you of Gracie’s tee-ball game tonight. It should be pretty entertaining," she said with a giggle. It was nice to hear Kari laugh. It had been a long time since she had anything to laugh about.
I thought about the last two years of Kari’s life. She got breast cancer when she was twenty-nine years old and had to give up a part of her womanhood when she had a double mastectomy. There were numerous doctors’ appointments, radiation treatments and trips to chemotherapy yet Kari stayed strong, calling herself a survivor.
Out of the three children, Kari was the outgoing one. Never a dull moment, she always succeeded in making friends, performing on stage and being herself. With the many trials that came her way, she never asked God why the cancer had happened to her but instead, found a way to reach out to others, sharing her experience. Her story has appeared in People magazine and several newspapers, along with speaking engagements at Relay for life, Komen race for the cure, REST mom's group at Northview Community Church, Northview congregation and videos, OSU Think Pink Tea and participated in a few style shows promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Kari turned her stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
That night at the tee-ball game, I watched Gracie play on the baseball field. Oh, how Gracie was a spittin’ image of Kari at the age of five! Gracie’s blonde pig tails bounced up and down as she ran around the bases, smiling all the way. Little sister Trinity sat beside me, eating vanilla wafers and clapping sticky fingers ever so often when the crowd cheered the teams on.
Not only was I watching Gracie as she played tee-ball, I was watching Kari too. Kari lost her long blonde, straight hair with the chemotherapy and her hair grew back as soft, brown curls. How time changes things yet still remain the same.
We continued to watch the tee-ball game. We encouraged Gracie and her team mates as we yelled "Go Broncho’s" louder and louder until we were hoarse. The cool breeze blew across the bleachers and for a second, I wanted to freeze that moment in time. I realized that Kari and I were sharing the same feeling of pride and excitement as we felt the tug of heartstrings by being a mother and watching our little girl. The moment was precious.
That night, the song, ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch’ played on my cell phone. Oh, I knew the song was corny but I liked it. It was my daughter, Kari. "I just wanted to tell you thank you for coming to Gracie’s tee-ball game. It was so much fun." "Oh, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything," I answered. "Goodnight Kari, I love you." I added. "I love you too," she said.
To all of the mothers and daughters everywhere, may you freeze many moments in time.
Vickie Jenkins is a medical assistant for Dr. Michael Crawford. She is an author/publisher of a children’s book, The Mulberry Gang and has had numerous articles published in newspapers, magazines and books of compiled stories.