From Small Portion of a Life's Journey, Alicia Harper, Mothers Day 2011
"There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day."
Mother’s Day, I always figured, aught to be a celebration of what being a mommy should be about, every day….the love we have for our children, and the love they have for us. The truly sad thing is that while in special needs families both parents and children need to feel the value of that priceless affection all the more, sometimes it proves all too difficult to call to the forefront. Mother’s Day seems to rub salt into those battle wounds, because of a tendency to think of the holiday as not so much being about acknowledging and celebrating what mothers do, but about paying tribute to notions of what mothers are due. And, some feel, what validation are all a mothers efforts due, if not a certain kind of child?! — A certain, societally-determined-as-ideal kind of child….which, in families with special needs children, the child, by societal standards, inherently is not.
Breaking out of that dangerous mold means dodging some sharp edges of the shards then readily scattered underfoot. First off, there are all the adds — diamonds are popular this year, barely beating out luxury spa weekends, but seeing surprising competition from excruciatingly overpriced flowers and desserts — which strive to convince us that our self-worth as mother’s has a monetary value, generally in the denomination of plastic. Not a great many special needs families can afford a few of the seven deadly sins just because they are pervasively encouraged/advertised, however. That would make it easy to turn from consumerism to sentimentality, but of course, nothing comes easy in special needs families, does it?
For every woman showing off the high-priced prize she was awarded this year out of their husband’s wallet, there are ten others bragging about the priceless gestures handed over with crooked smiles by their children’s little hands. Daycares, schools and clubs have probably spent the week having the kids making guided projects, to bring home. Inspired husbands might have plotted elaborate schemes involving taking a son or daughter to the store, giving them a certain amount of money, and having them pick out a present for mommy….or bravely having them carry the tray of breakfast-in-bed that they “helped” prepare. But what if the only artwork your child is capable of yet, involves things their fingers were never supposed to get into, and a frenzied clean-up job with a lot of sanitizer? What if they can’t grasp the concept of picking things out thatother people would want — assuming taking them to the store isn’t more likely to be a suicide mission than a covert operation, anyway? What if the kitchen still needs to be baby-gated, and they can’t carry things without dropping or flinging them? What if your child can’t say, “Happy Mother’s Day!”….and if they can, you could tell that the words are meaningless to them? What if, for whatever reason relating to your child’s special needs, all those Hallmark moments feel as unattainable as this year’s “Show Mom You Care” big-ticket item?
My advice is to let all that go, along with the guilty debate over whether you should wish for the day off from how the days of mommying tend to go, or an idealized day of mommying such as you ordinarily don’t even attempt. Just let it go. Mothering isn’t really about what, and when, and with what you do things, and whether or not they are what anyone else thinks should work. Mothering is about how we do things, in our efforts to make things work always that little bit better.
|Cup of Tea for Mommy & Me|
|Proud of his flowers he grew at school|