Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Special Mother (or Father)

I read this short essay from Erma Bombeck long before our son was born.  Always loved it.  Often, other people will say to me and my husband, "I don't know how you do it?" or "That must be hard".  Most of the time we don't think about Down Syndrome or that our child has special needs.  We just parent our child to the best of our ability.

Yesterday, David and Davey were at Costco getting a battery for our vehicle.  They wanted to stop at the food court on the way out to get a drink.  David was pushing the cart with the new battery in it.  He gave Davey a dollar and told him to go get a soda.  David told me about a conversation he had with an older woman (she looked like someone's loving Grandma) who spoke limited English.  She told David he was a great parent and our son was beautiful.  She told David that she had a nephew "like your son".  She was sweet and truly happy to watch Davey and David interacting.  It made me very proud to listen to David tell me this story last night.  Both of my son and my husband.

Being a parent of a child with Down Syndrome was not something we had planned.  But it is something we are now.  We have a special child with special needs.  There is nothing special about me and David.  We just keep on keeping on.

The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."

"Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps - "selfishness? is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'". She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice....and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side".

"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

Be gentle.

1 comment:

  1. Wow I love this easy! What perspective! I may have to come back to it a few times more so I can really wrap my head around that. THanks for sharing it!


Love reading your thoughts. Please leave us a comment.