Poems and Thoughts To Celebrate Special Needs Mothers This Weekend
Need something for the card you haven’t bought yet? Hopefully these poems, written by special needs mothers, will help inspire you.
The Special Needs Mother
When I worked,
When I worked at a Job, that is,
I thought I worked hard.
And I did.
I thought I was anxious.
And I was.
But nowhere near
Nowhere Near as hard as I work now
And nowhere near
As anxious as I am now.
But for some reason
For a very good reason
I am happier now.
And a wee more playful.
Feminism has nothin’ on me.
I am liberated.
Liberated from the trivialities.
Like worrying about what people think
What they think when I dance my funky dance
Or wear my high heels in the gym
Or play with my child
In the supermarket forgoodnesssake
Or when I tell you, a stranger, what I really think
Like you have the most beautiful hair.
Seriously. Shiny and sexy.
And liberated enough
To smile at your surprise.
I am all these things.
For a very good reason
My child, see, is special needs
And so much more.
SO much more.
So much joy
So much laughter
So much light
He is perfect.
He opened my narrowed eyes
My tight grip
My rocky heart
He taught me to let go
Of narrow expectations
Of trivial worries
Like getting into the right school
Or having the right stroller
Or learning the right musical instrument
At just the right age
So he can get into the right college
And the right job
As if there were such things.
He taught me what really is right
And enjoying the now
And loving the simple things
The magical things that we take for granted
And if you’re wondering
Like I probably would have
In another lifetime
No, I wouldn’t want a different child
Or an additional child
Because my child is special needs.
Because, you’d know,
Like I do
With all my heart
That I already have the perfect child.
And that makes me
The happiest mother.
Thoughts of a Mom
By Maureen K. Higgins
Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I’ve searched you out every day. I’ve looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores. I’ve become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my “sisters.”
Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.
We were initiated in neurologist’ s offices and NICU units, in obstetrician’ s offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.
All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed. Something wasn’t quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.
We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children’s special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world.
We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children’s needs are not as “special” as our child’s. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.
We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know “the” specialists in the field. We know “the” neurologists, “the” hospitals, “the” wonder drugs, “the” treatments. We know “the” tests that need to be done, we know “the” degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and psychiatry.
We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive, and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children withcerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.
We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it.
We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during “tantrums” and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us on line.
We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers.
We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections.
We have learned that many of our closest friends can’t understand what it’s like to be in our sorority, and don’t even want to try.
We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley’s “A Trip To Holland” and Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother.” We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.
We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors’ front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, “trick or treat.” We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.
We’ve gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we’d make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.
We’ve mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We’ve mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we’ve mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.
But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing. Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs. We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.
But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tight to their little hands as together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.
And Then God Created This Mother….
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of ‘overtime’ when an angel appeared and said,”You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And the Lord said “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 180 moveable parts – all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that disappears when she stands up, a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair and six pairs of hands, ears that will hear things she doesn’t want to hear, a mouth that can gently kiss away scrapes and bruises and yet tear the hide right off of those who try anything against the best interests of her child.
Yes, this model will have to be able to sit patiently and listen to outlandish reports about her child without flinching. She will have to hear how hopeless it all is and know that it isn’t so. She will have to have those kinds of eyes which don’t tear when she hears other mothers talk about how well things are going for their children.”
The angel shook its head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands, yet? No way.” “It’s not the hands that are causing the problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes this mother has to have.” “That’s on the standard model”? asked the angel.
The Lord nodded and said, “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” when she already knows. Another pair here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know and, of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up for the 99th time and say, “I understand and I love you anyway” without so much as uttering a word.
“Lord,” said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, “come to bed. Tomorrow…” “I can’t, answered the Lord, “I am so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, feeds a family of six on one pound of hamburger and gets her nine-year-old to stand under a shower.” The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” it sighed.
“But tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.” “Can it think?” asked the angel. “Not only can it think,” said the Creator, “it can reason and compromise.”
Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek. “There is a leak,” it pronounced. “I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.” “That’s not a leak, said the Lord, “it’s a tear.” “What’s it for?” asked the angel.
“Tears are for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride… this model will know a lot about all that” answered the Lord, “But you know” He continued, “I don’t even remember putting that tear there.” “By the way”, asked the angel, “what will you call this model?”
“I will call this one simply, the mother of an autistic child.”
Special Needs Moms: A Look Inside
by April Vernon