Dragon Jackie Morris with daughter Katie
My mother is spectacular. I have grown up watching her overcome her struggles with patience and calm. I have watched her hide and defeat her pain for my and others' benefits so that she may continue to be the caring vibrant person that she is. Her determination to not let RA control her life is admirable, however she isn't afraid to ask for help or to accept a friendly hand when she needs it. There was of course the time when she was stuck in a bathtub for hours because I was jet lagged from a flight to Paris and I forgot to get her out.
My mum has never missed a special event, travel, an opportunity to go shopping with me, or visit a theme park and there have even been hidden benefits. When we visited Disneyland when I was younger we walked right by the 2 hour long queues and got straight on every ride we wanted. Success! And even now, when she is recovering from foot reconstruction, we still go shopping with the wonders of the internet! RA has never stopped her being present in all aspects of my life.
Seeing all of my mother's admirable qualities has helped to shape the person I am today. I can only hope that I have acquired her positive attitude and always try to work through any of the difficulties I face in my own life. At times I find that this can frustrate my own doctor. A few years ago I broke my ankle and it took 3 doctors to convince me to stay off it as I was sure that it was fine considering I could walk. If it works, keep going, I told myself. Apparently not the case, particularly when you teach 5 year olds who keep kicking your broken bone. Finally I accepted the necessity of wearing my moon boot which also saved my doctor's sanity.
I believe that growing up around RA has also made me a more empathetic person. I have found that I am more aware of how others may be feeling and ways to help them. I watch out in case others are in pain and hiding it, like my mother can do. It has also made me a more independent person. There were times when I had to learn on the fly because I needed to help do something, or to go places on my own when she couldn't join me. As such, she has perhaps unwittingly created a world traveller who is determined to visit more and more exciting and exotic places. My next stop is the Arctic Circle, and I bet my brilliant mother will be right beside me, either on zoom, or whatsapp, or better yet in person.