On this Thanksgiving Day, it is typical to give thanks. Today I am especially thankful that I am a mother to a special needs child. I choose to use the words “it could be different”, not “it could be worse”. I will never pretend to know what it’s like to have a child with a more severe disability, to never be able to receive a hug or kiss from my daughter or to never be able to hold my living, breathing child. There are mothers that have lost their children, before an ultrasound picture or after delivering at full term. I have the utmost respect for them. There are mothers who will never get to see their child crawl or walk, who will not receive an emotional, physical or verbal response from their child. I am thankful for everything Vivian gives me on a daily basis. I consider myself lucky for what I have received from Vivian thus far.
Mothers are some of the strongest people I know and the obstacles that some have endured are beyond triumphant. I am thankful for all mothers of special needs children and would like to share this poem I came across recently:
Some Mothers Chosen By God
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, Matthew.”
“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”
“Rudledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint…give her Gerard, He’s used to profanity.”
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 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 his own 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 who is 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 know it! When she describes a tree or sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.
“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 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.”