‘My Little Girl Would Have Grown Up Without Me’: Working Mom Credits Cancer for Dialing Back Hours

Humans of New York, a photoblog highlighting different people’s stories for inspiration, smiles and a candid look at life itself, has tugged at our heartstrings again–this time, with the story of a working mom who credits her cancer for spending more time with her daughter.

In the two-part HONY series, the woman reflects on how her own upbringing affected how she approached family time. And how that changed with her life-shattering diagnosis.

The woman grew up with a mother who was a drill sergeant and a father who was an Olympic-level martial artist. She said she grew up with a competitive drive, which she carried into adulthood, especially into her career.

“By the time Logan was born, I was working 60 hour weeks. She was born on a Tuesday, and I was back at work on Thursday,” she said. “I’d come home, give the baby a kiss, then shut the office door. I told myself that I needed to work a little harder—get a little more security—then later on I could stop and enjoy life. But that time never came. Because each time I reached a goal, I’d increase it a little more.”

When her daughter, Logan, turned 3 years old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her doctor gave her 10 years to live; she’s currently on year six of that diagnosis. With her tumor not showing any signs of growth, she said she’s not sure what will happen, but that this is what fueled her decision to be more present in her daughter’s life.

“I do know that without the cancer, my little girl would have grown up without me. I’d have been around, but not there. We’d never be sitting in this park right now. So I’ve come to believe that everything happens for a reason. I was never afraid of dying. Even in the beginning. But I was always terrified of leaving her. And that fear changed everything.”

Thousands of commenters chimed in with words of support for the working mom.

“Whenever I think I’ve read a HONY that has tugged on my heart the most, you always prove me wrong,” one user wrote. “This one really hurts, I’m happy for this newfound realization and appreciation of time, my heart hurts for how painful it must be to be diagnosed and having the greatest fear of leaving your child without a mother. I’m excited for all the moments she will share with her no matter how much time is ahead of them, I literally have all the feels right now.”

The bittersweet post is indeed a much-needed reminder that regardless of how much time we have with our kids–even if it’s just an hour before bedtime–we should try to make the most of it.