Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Permission granted

Posted June 17, 2012

Our children spend a lot of time asking our permission to do things.

They ask us if they can have a snack, play outside, or invite a friend over. Their schools also send us endless permission slips for everything from field trips to pizza parties. Kids look forward to the day when they no longer have to ask our permission to do things. I know because I remember that feeling, that longing for independence, independence from my parents’ rules and regulations.

I started thinking about how in my role reversal with my mother, who is suffering from brain cancer, permission comes in to play. She is now asking my permission for things that she wants and needs.

“Can I go to bed now? I’m so tired,” she asks every day with pleading eyes when we return from her radiation treatment.

“Can I just have some ice chips instead of a drink,” she asks when I greet her with a tall cup of water at her bedside.

“Can I eat in bed instead of coming to the table?” she asks every night when I try to get her to let me wheel her into the kitchen for dinner.

I keep telling her that she doesn’t need my permission to do anything, that she is still my mother, and she is still in charge, even though I am caring for her. I will do anything she needs me to do, and I will facilitate her doing anything she wants to do. This is her right.

But there is something about a lack of independence, the lack of independence that comes with being disabled that makes someone feel obligated to ask permission, just like when we were children.

Her main area of permission surrounds her treatment. It has been grueling, and she is almost done. But she has repeatedly asked my permission to allow her to stop after this round, to allow whatever will happen take its course.

This is the hardest kind of permission for a daughter to grant a mother. Our instinct as human beings is to fight but, in my heart, I know that fighting at any cost is not always worth the suffering someone must endure.

I have told her, and I mean it, that she is in charge of decisions about whether or not she wants to continue her treatment. I’m not sure she quite believes me yet, but I keep telling her this. No matter what decision she makes, the answer will always be the same — permission granted.

Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays. Follow her mother's story on her CaringBridge site.



Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Glass Half Full Jun 18, 2012

    Your recent stories about your mother's struggle have been so touching. I find myself looking forward to each heart breaking post. I imagine your mother is as proud as she's ever been of you right now. You are so lucky to have each other. You are proof positive of the wonderful job she did raising her daughter. My God's love hold you all close during this time.

  • Twittyfan Jun 18, 2012

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.. I know it is tough on you but you will never have regrets. To be able to look after your mother is a blessing and I am sure she is so thankful to have a daughter like you..

  • lec02572 Jun 18, 2012

    Having been down this road with my mother and my aunt who was only 14 months older than You are doing the right thing by taking care of your mother and assisting her in every way that you can. Our prayers are with you and your family. You family, friends, and community are here for you.

  • njacobs317 Jun 18, 2012

    My prayers are with you and your family, may God keep you strong

  • jebar Jun 18, 2012

    Out of all the posts you have written about your mother this one that brought tons of tears to my eyes. God bless you and I keep you and your mother in my heart and prayers everyday. Huge Hugs!

  • pirategirl12 Jun 17, 2012


  • computer trainer Jun 17, 2012

    Amanda, prayers for your family, especially you and your Mother. You are giving her the greatest gift a child could give their parent.