We are told many things about our children once we are told they are not like other boys and girls. We are told, because of their disAbilities, they cannot do some things. Sometimes a lot of things. We, as mothers of children with special needs, are told they cannot go certain places. Even schools, sometimes. Worse, kinda, even churches. And, it sorta has the feel of branding when our offspring are called by labels that have the ingredients of alphabet soup that is about to boil over from cauldrons that cannot contain them.
We are often told things about our own selves as their mothers: “Saints!” We are called sometimes, to which the irreverent amongst us joke between ourselves, “does that mean our children are little devils?” And frequently, we hear things about our strength as mothers. “Oh, I could never do what you do!” “You are incredibly strong! I could never be like you,” they too frequently proclaim.
Here’s the deal:
I hypothesize…I even dare to believe…that we all are strong in the broken places. And life inevitably, one way or another, inflicts us with a wounding. Or two. Or many. I believe we have it within us to draw from within, deep within, and find that source of strength and rise to the challenge. Whatever it may be. Death of a loved one. Divorce. Job loss. DisAbility. Hell knows, I’ve tasted the bittersweet of them all. Yeah, I wrote bittersweet. Because. It makes us stronger. More resilient. My belated Daddy used to quote the saying, “Trees that bend in the wind a little grow stronger.” (He loved trees.)
So. Yes you can. Yes. You can find the strength within you to weather whatever life challenge mothering or any other aspect of life tosses your way. If you were me, you’d find the strength. Because, really, I’m no different than you, oh, strong mother.
Leisa A. Hammett is an author, speaker and an advocate for people with disAbilities, including her 18-year-old with autism, artist, Grace Walker Goad. Leisa was a moderator for MCM and Moms Like Me during the first seven years of its existence. She blogs at www.LeisaHammett.com and she is writing her second book on autism.