For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a Mom. When I was very young, I used to think that I would have 5 children by the time I was 30 years old, 2 years apart, all boys. I have no idea why I had this particular number of children in mind or why they had to be that particular sex. It’s funny how a young mind works sometimes, but I always knew that children would be a very important part of my life, even though I wasn’t quite sure of the particular details at the time.
I began babysitting as a preteen and was exposed to a whole array of kids and personalities, including a young teen with Down syndrome. Little did I know at 13 years old how important that special needs sitting experience would be years later… I found children to be fascinating and fun. I loved being with them and felt I related well with most of my charges. It was also great earning some pocket money and having the opportunity to watch kids quite often, as I was fortunate to have several families who were my “regulars”.
Gradually , I moved on to other jobs to earn income while I was a college student, but I never forgot my “first love” in working with kids and eventually earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. However, I ended up taking quite the circuitous route first with careers in the airline and pharmaceutical industries, before ultimately going to the classroom. I had a very rewarding experience with the students I taught over a 5 year period which ended shortly before Brian was born.
Everything drastically changed the moment Brian arrived into the world. Life as I knew it would never be the same. My heart’s desire to become a Mom had been finally fulfilled. This journey has been quite the roller coaster ride, filled with twists and turns, highs and lows. I didn’t know that you could feel such intense love and pain at the same time. I never realized how hard it was going to be. I didn’t consider the costs, the sacrifices, and the intensity of parenting before coming one. There is a blessing to all of that, I realize in retrospect. If I had known all of this ahead of time, I’m not sure if I would have become a Mom. There is a reason why the future is not revealed to us.
Fortunately, I had a great role model in my own Mom growing up, so the decision to ultimately become a parent myself was the right one. She made motherhood look effortless , although I realized it certainly wasn’t for her at times. All kids are challenging and have their moments; my siblings and I certainly frustrated our Mom on numerous occasions, but she always provided us with consistency, love, and support, no matter what. I am forever grateful for the examples Mom showed me of how to be a good mother. It is my daily prayer that I can do the very same for Brian, as Mom did for me, so that he too, knows how very deeply loved he is. I think Brian knows how much he is loved- but it’s hard to know sometimes for sure with a non verbal child. We can only go by how Brian ” communicates” and by all accounts, he is generally a happy, loving kid, so my husband and I would like to think that we are doing all right by our son.
Motherhood has ultimately changed me for the better; it’s rigors have demanded it, and while I certainly wish certain things weren’t so difficult, I can’t imagine not being my son’s Mom. Motherhood has also enriched my life in many wonderful ways, despite the hardships and heartaches, and I have Brian to thank for that! Finally, Motherhood has given me numerous gifts and unique challenges because of having a disabled child that I would not have had otherwise:
1. Motherhood is a joy- There is nothing like holding your child, seeing them smile, or delighting in what makes them happy. It is one of life’s purest joys to see your child enjoy each aspect of his/her life. I am able to view life through Brian’s loving and unique perspective, a huge gift for both of us!
2. Motherhood is a sorrow- You want to solve all of your disabled child’s problems, but you can’t. You feel helpless when your child has surgery and know they are frightened. You feel your child’s pain so much, whatever that pain is, that your own heart hurts. 😞
3. Motherhood is a disappointment sometimes- We don’t always get what we hope for as parents. We will be disappointed sometimes in ourselves, and in our situation with Brian, the complexities and frustrations related to his disabilities can be disappointing at times. This has nothing to do with the beautiful boy that he is, but rather, the impact of the challenges that he lives with on a daily basis effects our family profoundly.
4. Motherhood is frustration and patience is a virtue. You wonder how many more years it will take your special child to learn a basic skill or how much longer you can listen to the same song. You take a deep breath when dealing with the endless bureaucracy and people that it takes to help your child. You often have to take a deep breath, count internally to 10, or say mantras like, “serenity NOW!!” to maintain your composure and sense of humor.
5. Motherhood is exhausting. Brian will be my “forever boy”, even though he will become a grown man. Special needs parenting is forever, not for just a season, as it is for most typical parents. Special Moms can get worn down very easily and it does get harder as time moves forward: our kids get bigger and we Moms get older. We love our children intensely, but we desperately need breaks too from caretaking . I find this especially true for myself as time moves on…
6. Motherhood is love- There is no love deeper than the love between a mother and her child. I would have never believed that before having Brian, but I sure do now! It is that same instinctive, intense bond of love that we Moms are privileged to share with our kids, that also makes the difficulties more bearable. I sometimes have to remind myself of that, particularly in the middle of a challenge. It is these truths that will sustain me, especially when I have moments of doubt in my abilities as a mother. I know now that I was always meant to be a Mom, specifically, Brian’s Mom. Thank you, Son, for giving me that opportunity-I love you! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Happy Mothers Day to all of the great women who make a huge difference in the lives of their children! May you know how much you are deeply loved and appreciated, not only this Sunday, but every day! ❤️❤️❤️
Until next time, thanks for reading! 😊