(10 days ago)
It’s a beautiful, sunny, June afternoon here in the northeast. (I’m lying, it’s actually a partly sunny, partly cloudy, occasionally rainy afternoon, but I don’t like the sound of that.) 1 of the managers at my job is hosting a bbq for the employees. Everything is going pretty much as you’d expect. Burgers, hotdogs and a couple pasta somethings or another since the manager is Italian 🙂 We’re all chit chatting about whatever. In comes Mrs. Manager and their son Vinny, who is a über friendly and talkative 11 year old. He has cerebral palsy, (high-functioning as far as I can see) autism and a couple of other things but I can’t remember what exactly. He’s a very funny child but has no filter what-so-ever on his mouth. Whatever he’s thinking just spills out of him like a too-full flower-pot that you try to add more water to. His mom is always on high alert. Always standing nearby ready to rescue him (or us) if something unexpected or inappropriate happens. She knows he can be a lot for other people to deal with. Not me. Those “other” people who don’t understand. She doesn’t seem bothered or annoyed by his constant talking even though he’s saying the same things and asking the same questions over and over again but she doesn’t want him bothering anyone else. She tries to get him to go inside and is successful for a while but then I suppose the excitement of all the people in his back yard was too much for him to resist and he made his way back out. He comes out with an i-pad and for the rest of the afternoon he shows us videos and gives us way TMI on his home life, his school life and everything in between. Spending the afternoon with them, it’s clear that Mrs. Manager takes her role of mother very seriously.
(2 days ago)
Now, it’s a hot, sunny June morning (for real) and I’m at work when 1 of the women who was at the bbq says to me … “Mrs. Manager is so good with Vinny. Better than me. I don’t think I could handle that. I guess God knows who to give what child to.” I tell her I don’t quite see it that same way. I do think Mrs. Manager is a good mom but I don’t think she was chosen to be the mom of a special needs child. I got a little tense but she doesn’t push me to go further and I’m glad.
The full of what I was thinking is this …
That’s a ridiculous thing to say. There are plenty of special needs children who are not getting treated the same way as Vinny, who are not getting treated well at all. Why were their parents chosen to have them? Shoot, there are typical children who are neglected and abused. I think, as a mom, you get what you get and it’s your job to do all you can regardless of the circumstances, to be the best possible mom you can be. You don’t get “chosen” to be a special needs mom, it just happens. But if you happen to end up as one you can either rise to the occasion and do all you can for your child or you can be 1 of those moms who are just that in name. To me, being a mom is major. It’s the most important job ever. It’s something I chose and I want to do a good job of it regardless of the child(ren) that I have. I don’t think it makes me a “better” mother than any other because I make more doctors appointments that the average mom. Or because I know what IEP stands for. Or because I know my son doesn’t quite get it (whatever it is) but I still treat him him like he does. Or because every time I tell him to “say something” I fully expect to hear him say it even though I know he won’t and I am slightly let down each time he doesn’t but I’ll ask him to say it again in 5 mins or tomorrow because I know that 1 day he will say it. Or because I have a 3 year old who will become a 4 year old who is still in diapers and I’m ok with that. Or because I know my son doesn’t like crowds and chaos so we plan our lives around that. Or because I let my son eat cheese doodles for dinner because I’d rather him eat cheese doodles than nothing. Or because I let my son stay on the swings as long as he’d like because he loves it, even though I know he gets motion sickness and will eventually throw-up and I’ll clean it up despite the fact that I hate throw-up more than any other bodily fluid. (Is it considered a fluid?) Or because I make extra effort to give my NT 4 yr old his own time and I go out of my way to give hugs and kisses when I know he’s had to sacrifice something. It’s just what I do. There was never any question in my mind that I would be this way. Long before I knew what was in store for me. There just is no other way to be. None of the issues that we have make me want to be any less of a mom. Nothing that could ever happen in the future could make me want to be any less of a mom. This is who I am. Above all, I’m Ace and Jay’s mother. It’s what Mrs. Manager is. She’s Vinny’s mother. We’re moms.