Mom: She took care of you, now help her take care of herself
Mother’s Day is always an occasion to remember the importance of the mothers in our lives, whether they are our moms, grandmas, wives, aunts, and sometimes, sisters or daughters. If they are far away, we send cards bursting with our love and affection, maybe along with a little present and a phone call. If we are lucky enough to have theme close by, in addition to the gifts, we might also have a family get-together, or take them out to dinner, or to the movies, with plenty of hugs, kisses and heartfelt words to go around.
It’s a day when we remember—and are grateful for—everything they have done for us. From deeply emotional memories: the nights they never left our sides when we were sick; their words of wisdom and comfort in times of need; the tears they dried from our eyes with such tenderness. To the simple and mundane: all the delicious meals we enjoyed at her table and how she helped us with our homework. For me, I’ll always remember listening to music while she taught my siblings and to play dominos.
The bottom line is that Mom, Grandma, Auntie—they took care of us. They did everything that they could to ensure our wellbeing and happiness—often with great sacrifice. We know that mothers often worry more about everyone else than themselves, and unfortunately, don’t invest the time and money in looking after their own health. That neglect, with time, exacts a steep price, especially for us Latinas, because we have a higher than average risk of suffering certain potentially fatal conditions like diabetes and cervical cancer. That is why its extremely important that we get our annual check ups to detect these conditions in their early stages, before they cost us our lives.
So this Mothers Day, flip the script and you take care of them. Or better yet, help them take their health into their own hands. Luckily, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare), if she has health insurance, the annual check up is free, so she’ll have one less excuse to avoid doing it. If she doesn’t have insurance, you can find a Community Health Center that offers medical services on a sliding scale at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.
This Sunday, as you give each one her bouquet, or box of chocolates, or other gift, tell her from the heart that you want to help her celebrate many more Mothers’ Days with the family, and ask her if she’s had her yearly checkup. If not, offer to go to the doctor with her. Make the appointment yourself if necessary. The important thing is for her to know that her health and wellbeing is a priority for you, as it should be for her. Good health is the best gift.