I received a phone message from my mom the other day. The message started with her singing one of her favourite songs by Stevie Wonder…”I just called to say I love you, I just called to say I care, I just called to say I love you…and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.” She went on to say, “If you need anything, just let me know.” And she signed off with her signature goodbye; “Chow” (really spelled “ciao”).
My mom’s name is Sheila and Mike’s mom just so happens to be Sheila as well. Our moms having the same name might not be that unusual, but here’s what’s unusual; our dads have the same name too (George). Having parents with the same names made it easy for us to name our children; Erin Sheila, Nathaniel George and Madison Sheila. In private, Mike tells his parents we named the kids after them and privately he tells my parents we named the kids after them. He is just trying to keep both inheritances in order.
Anyway, hearing my Sheila sing made me smile. Hearing her voice and her reminder “If you need anything, I am here for you,” brings so much comfort. Hearing Mike’s Sheila’s voice makes me smile too. She has a lovely Scottish accent that makes me want to listen…even to stories I have heard many times. I could sit and listen to her and her sister, Aileen reminisce for hours, recalling childhood memories growing up with their big brothers in Scotland and then immigrating to Canada in 1948.
When I call my parent’s house and my George picks up, it’s “HI DEE, how are you Dee?” He has called me Dee all my life. He doesn’t want to chat like my mom does, but he takes the time to make me feel like he really cares. As soon as he hears I am well and that I am happy, he says, “Okay, here is your mom. Let me know if you need anything.” I was told that when my mom was pregnant with my sister, my dad really wanted a boy. After having a baby girl and falling hear over heals for her, he wanted another girl when my mom was pregnant with me. I have always felt incredibly loved.
Mike’s George is the same as my George. He doesn’t want to talk all day, he simply wants to hear Mike’s voice…to know that Mike is okay and that he and his family are doing well. He is tough on the outside, but on the inside he is tender and soft hearted. He doesn’t say a lot, but you know he is there and you know he cares so much.
Our Sheilas still feed us and clothe us and slip us cash. Our Georges won’t let us pay for anything and would sooner die than see us suffer in any way. The Georges and Sheilas of our lives support us, care for us, love us, encourage us and treat us like gold. We feel blessed beyond measure!
Telling our parents about Mike’s diagnosis was harder than hearing it ourselves. We knew it would devastate them and that it did. But their strength inspires us and they continue to muster up the courage to walk with us through the toughest times of our lives. We love them and thank God for them every day!
Our Sheilas at the ALS Walk in Coquitlam, B.C. in August
My George and Sheila with Mike and his sister Aileen w/ Leah at the ALS Walk in Abbotsford in April
Mike's sister Pat, Mike's Sheila and George, Erin and my Sheila - ALS Walk Coquitlam/August