The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressure and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how these mothers 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 take notes in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew." "Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia." "Rutledge, 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 knows no laughter? That would be cruel." "But does she have the patience?" asks the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it." "I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own. She has to make it 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 will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know 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 witness to a miracle and 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 she is here by my side." "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."
I AM A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD
You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of…I see that as well. I am aware of much, whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do. You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world around me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the worlds standards, or great strides in development that you can credit yourself with . I do not give you understanding as you know it…what I give you is more valuable. I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine, the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities. The opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. Most of all I teach you hope and faith.