What is it like to be a mother? Any one of you out there that has the privilege to carry that title, could easily choose one word from the dictionary that would place your emotion so far out into the universe, it would be almost unlikely for another being (outside of the XX chromosome) to comprehend your compassion. The blessing that this tiny gift gets to have life through you is, well, there are no words. Those who have been given the gift, those who desire it, those who are waiting in God’s time… through natural, assisted, cesarean, adoption, surrogacy, fostering, or supporting… it’s just something that we experience as women that no other kind of God’s creation has the blessing to experience.
Now, same question…. What is it like to be a mother… to a child with a disability? The feelings are the exact same but are there any forms of magnifying what is already so immense?
I was a young mother when the first child came along, and when number two was on her way, I thought “I got this”. To show off my cute children, with my cute family, in my cute house, etc, etc, etc. The husband, the wife, a boy (first), a girl (second), a dog and a fence. Isn’t that what we all want??? Well, I certainly didn’t expect the next bit of news that was coming. At six months old and they said she had “cerebral palsy”. What was that?!? Her tongue was going to hang out of her mouth while she rambled in a wheelchair? I had no idea… really. The doctor’s description to this young, naïve, new mom, was “What that means is you will never see her walk down the aisle.” Nice right? As time passed, this little blessing, the first girl, wasn’t doing much. You know that feeling of holding your infant only, for what seems like days later, you turn around and the child is almost walking and talking and ready for his first day of kindergarten? Well, my “days” of holding my infant turned into years, not months, not days. She was so lovable, and so cuddly. Instead of going to dance class or soccer practice, we got to go for physical therapy and Botox injections. I worried, I cried, my heart melted for her as she would never “be normal”. My love for this child that was different was SO MUCH BIGGER than any words anywhere could express. She was amazing. Although she couldn’t talk, we communicated just like any mother would with her young. Although she couldn’t walk, she roamed. Although she couldn’t reach, she grabbed our hearts and held on tight!
She has never been treated like she has a disability. She moves and does what she wants to do. There are no special conditions for chores, for homework sessions, for dinner time. She has likes and dislikes. She is poetic and artsy. She is funny and sassy. She is your typical nine year old, emotional preteen of a girl who is finding her way. She knows that she is different because God has to make people different sometimes and she was one of the lucky chosen ones. She has a spirit about her that is different from her three siblings. Is that because she is a girl, is that because she is “the middle” or is it because we have been given the privilege… that this tiny blessing is a gift that gets to have life through me. That I get told hold her hand as she skips rope. I get to hug her when she falls from her scooter and scrapes a knee. I get to fix her favorite meals and paint her fingernails. I get to work on school projects and jump on the trampoline with her. I get to share in all of her favorite things. I get to watch her “like” her first boy, and maybe one day drive her first car. I get to help her get ready for prom; I get to help her write her first resume, and when she’s ready, I get to see her walk down the aisle. I get to, one day, see her make me a grandmother! I get to have all of those emotions that are stretched so far into the universe that only those of you that have the XX chromosome could ever truly comprehend. That IS what it means to be a mother to a child with a disability! ~Brooke Miller
Thanks RWL UCP for all you do for the special children and adults such as these!