Tag Archives: Holland

Moms – Living kidney donor

This morning I ran into Wegmans to pick up a cup of coffee and a few things. It’s the day before Mother’s Day and the store was a buzz with fathers, husbands, and son’s shopping for the women in their life.  With all of my travels throughout the US, Asia and Europe I have never experienced a grocery store like Wegmans.  When you walk into Wegmans it takes in all of your senses, the store is alive with color, taste and smell and today the store manager was at the door welcoming every customer. While I was in the checkout line,  I met an elderly man who had been searching for something special for his wife — he said they had everything they could possibly need but it was important  to recognize her on Mother’s Day.

My Mom, Tim, Ron, Shane, Me and Trevor

My Mom, Tim, Ron, Shane &, Me 

While approaching my car, I noticed a young Mom holding her three children tightly to protect them from the busyness of the Wegmans parking lot. She had a serious and determined look on her face that I recognized in myself many years ago.   I thought this is what counts–  the day to day actions that Mom’s do to ensure there children are safe.  Its the small things that go unnoticed like a kiss goodnight, a clean bed to sleep in, a dinner prepared at the end of the day, a smile when they walk in and their favorite cookie on a special occasion.  For me as a Mom it was important to widen my sons view by  introducing as many new experiences into their life and thereby showing them its a  big world with many different occupations, personalities and cultures. They could do whatever they set out to do in this world– this is one of the biggest lesson’s I learned from my own parents and I wanted to pass it on.

My big lesson this year is my Mom and one that I will always cherish.  I donated my kidney on behalf of my brother last August and when I was released from the hospital I was required to stay in Pittsburgh for two weeks due to traveling and follow up medical visits. During this time I stayed at the Family House in Pittsburgh and my Mom who had traveled from California stayed with me. I often consider my Mom as one of the most impatient people on this planet, but for those two weeks she was an angel. She stayed by my side and just looked after me by cooking, organizing, washing, lifting and always being gracious.  It was a crazy time for me with the recuperation from the surgery, the large amount of emotional baggage I carried along with feeling anxious about my brother’s surgery two weeks after my own. I can be stubborn in thinking that I can do it on my own and so I rarely let anyone in– let alone help me. This experience has taught me much, including opening myself up and letting my Mom in and for that I am forever grateful.

My Mom and I

My Mom and I


Being one of six children my Mom was busy, working, raising us, getting dinner on the table and ensuring we had clean clothes and she never had a moment for herself. Us older kids had very little one-on-one time with her but she did find the time for occasional bedtime stories and a cup of tea.  My Mom is Dutch and she grew up in Utrecht, Holland during World War II and has amazing stories of the Americans camped out in her backyard and war planes flying over the city she lived in. Oma who is grandma to my boys  would often tell  them wartime stories at night before they went to bed, I often wonder about the influence these stories has had on my children’s lives.  English is my Mom’s second language which is all she has spoken since we were born, however it’s not her native language and with that words sometimes are misinterpreted.  My Mom who has nine other siblings learned to make due with the bare minimum and she continues to live her life this way. She has an amazing strength and determination along with a deep love for all of her children.

On this Mother’s day can we focus on the simple moments of our life, think about the small things your Mom has done for you and let go of the stories that keep the painful memories alive. Consider how much our Mom’s gave of themselves and how they worked to keep food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in and let that be more than enough. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!


Healing and thoughts – Living kidney donor (9)

The gift of being in a healing place is thought and time. My thoughts feel more open, less stories in my head to back up my old beliefs.  We go through our lives telling the same stories, sometimes we enhance these events in our lives so that we can maintain the anger, the sadness or distance.

My Mom has been a huge lesson for me. She came over from Utrecht, Holland after the war at the age of 18. My Oma (grandmother) brought at least six of her ten children to Canada to create a better life for them. Today we call this entrepreneurship. “one who undertakes innovation to transform for financial good”.

When my Mom first arrived in Edmonton, Canada she did not know the english language. It was difficult being a young expressive person trying to fit into a new culture. She quickly met my father, married and had her first four of six  children– in less than four years. She devoted all of herself to us kids, always keeping a part time job and working tirelessly to take care of us.  I love my Mother’s dutch accent, but for her it always made her feel separate.

My Mom is now 78 years old and recently moved across the country to California to be near my brother and sister. I believe she did this for an adventure, an opportunity to recreate herself and perhaps not get too comfortable. She walks two miles a day and manages her diabetes very well.

Often being the daughter we find fault in those we love. We look to create our own destiny, to do better, to know more.  At some point we stop striving and look at ourselves and those we love not by what we have accomplished, how much money we have or who we know – but about the relationships we share. 

Being number four of a busy family, I have not spent a lot of one-on-one time with my Mom. As far back as I can remember this is the first time that I have been in a position where I needed compassion, patience, love and understanding. My Mom has not let me down, she has been an angel and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be with her. She is an amazingly strong women that deserves nothing but respect.

I am proud to be her daughter. W