Like most moms would say, being a mom has certainly been rewarding for me. I have learned so much about motherhood from my own wonderful mother, but I feel I have learned a lot more from my children.
Let me start by saying that raising me was not a bed of roses for my mother; no indeed. My mother raised three children all alone. All three with their own “VERY” different personalities and physical and mental challenges.
I was the hardest to raise. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five. What a roller coaster I took my mother through, but she rose to every occasion. She was there day and night when I was hospitalized. She sacrificed jobs to make sure she was around to care for me and my siblings. She endured more judgment and criticism from schools and doctors about how she cared for me but never let that influence her decisions for the ways of care she felt was best.
“She raised a strong daughter who learned that moms know best when it comes to their children.
Because mothers love with their entire heart, not just a portion of it. Starting out as a young single mom I was faced with raising a child with several disabilities: spinal bifida, hearing impairment and ADHD. As his mom, I watched him get his first “little” wheelchair and I remember the joy I felt watching him learn to roll around the classroom. He struggled making friends but I recall his first speech to his third grade class about who he was and all the things he could do: karate, swim and track on a special hand control bike.
I learned so much from that day. He taught me to be brave. My son is 28 years old today and has been a teacher, not just my son. I have learned to love unconditionally; to take my heart completely out of my body and smother him with the love he deserves and needs. He taught me how to be a teacher to myself. He reminded me daily that doing my own research and seeking other opinions will help us both survive in this world.
“He taught me how to be resilient and determined. He never lets anything stop him and reminds me that I should do the same.
He taught me to be his voice when he couldn’t speak, his legs because he can’t walk, and his ears when he can’t hear. He taught me to be his best friend and I learned from all that he taught me, that he was mine.
I married my husband when my son was eight, and I had a second son soon after. Again, life gave me a wheelbarrow of lemons. A beautiful breathtaking little boy with all his fingers and toes, but not all disabilities are visible as I learned when he was two. I thought I would be prepared after raising my oldest but nothing prepares you to hear that your child may struggle in life.
Expressive Language Delay was his first diagnosis and nine years later he was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation Syndrome. Again, I was on the road to learning more from my children. I became a huge advocate for children with disabilities and because both my children needed a voice, I was vocal about their needs in the school system and helped them make changes to be more inclusive of children with disabilities. I listened to my children tell me of how they felt each day while at school and they taught me to speak up about their concerns when they couldn’t.
The boys are both grown now and are doing really well. My oldest is working for a property management company as an office assistant and my youngest is a junior in college. Despite all their challenges growing up, they never gave up or looked down upon themselves. There are times when I can honestly say I feel like tossing in a towel, lying in bed some days, all day. But I am reminded each morning when I hear their voices or think about them, all that they taught me about resiliency and determination.
“I am who I am today because of my children.
They have been the anchor that holds me to this earth, but also the wind beneath my wings. Together we fly towards success, but we stay grounded in our faith that everything will be okay.