Home > Top Ten > Top Ten: Emotions Experienced By A Grandmother Of A Special Needs Child

Top Ten: Emotions Experienced By A Grandmother Of A Special Needs Child

It’s time for another installment of the ever popular Top Ten series. Still keeping it in the family, today’s guest writer is none other than my mom. Knowing this ahead of time gave me a week to reflect on the introduction I would write for her, but as today drew nearer I was still getting nowhere. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs over the years, especially if you count the downs as one huge leap into the valley of teenage rebellion. But though it sounds like a cliche, it’s 150% true – nothing makes you appreciate your mother more than becoming one yourself.

So after some consideration, the best word I can think to describe the relationship I have with my mother is “irreplaceable.” There is no one else on the planet I feel more comfortable leaving my children with (I think they actually prefer her most of the time) and nobody I would rather call when one of the kids are sick (she’s also a nurse – bonus!). But she’s also the first one I call when I’m worried about talking with the principal at school or when James says something really funny (and embarrassing). If I hang up two and a half minutes later, all of a sudden, without so much as a goodbye, I know she won’t feel insulted if I don’t call back right away – come on, who else can you do that with? IhavetogobeforeJamesgetshitbyacarsorrygottarunwillcalllater click.

As a mother of 5, I know that she actually gets it when I am stressed out about seemingly little stuff (lots and lots of little stuff) or when I am ridiculously excited about James playing ball at recess or getting dressed in the morning without a fight.

My mom reads books on Gmail video chat to my 2 yr old so I can help James with his homework. She brings comic books for James and finds special apps on her iphone for the kids when she visits. She drops everything and travels 2 hours each way to babysit while I go on school tours, doctors’ appointments, and IEP meetings – even a date once in a while!

She’s the only reason I didn’t cry at the DMV, when after hours with a screaming toddler they told me my license was suspended due to an unpaid ticket for a bumper sticker in my rear window. From 2004. She’s the only reason I didn’t totally flip out walking 3 miles to my OB last year, in the pouring rain, 8 months pregnant with my 18 month old in the stroller, desperately waving at any taxi that passed within a mile radius. She’s the reason that instead of feeling defeated, we both ended up laughing like lunatics while running through the rain.

My mom has an incredibly soft spot for James. I think she is too easy on him and generally spoils him rotten. But I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that there is someone out there who is as crazy about all of my children, special needs or not, as I am.

So in the end, I guess the hardest part about writing this intro for my mom has been picking out a few highlights from the million things that make her special and that she has done for me (and my family). I mean, this is supposed to be her guest post. So for now, without further adieu:

Top Ten: Emotions Experienced By A Grandmother Of A Special Needs Child

by Elizabeth Gerrity

  1. Was my SCARIEST moment one of his surgeries or hospitalizations? No! It was when we were boarding the train and his leg fell through the gap between the train and the platform up to his thigh. This was after I pointed out the gap to him about ten times! He didn’t even lose his shoe though and his leg was okay!
  1. One of his CUTEST moments was when the shoe saleswoman was trying on a pair of shoes for him and he leaned down toward her and hugged her and told her he loved her. Or was it when he told the guy in the elevator that he loved him?
  1. One of the ODDEST things about my grandson is his fear of bubble wrap. I can be in a totally different state from him but when I see bubble wrap, I feel a wave of anxiety!
  1. The FUNNIEST exchange I’ve heard recently:

Mother: James, if you don’t pull yourself together, you’re going to bed at 7:00.

James: Noooo! 6:00!! (he can’t tell time).

Little sister, age 2: (in a soft voice) 7:00….(also can’t tell time)

James: Noooo! 6:00!! And so on….

  1. The GROSSEST occurrence was when my grandsons megacolon caused both toilets to overflow stool (fecal material, BM, poop) all over the bathrooms and his mom spent Christmas Eve up to her elbows in it.
  1. My SWEETEST story was when the group of waiters and waitresses sang a loud Happy Birthday song to James and he tried his very hardest not to cry but couldn’t help it and the more he cried, one by one the singers stopped singing. When it was all over, he told them it was a great song.
  1. My most ROUTINE moment with my grandson is when he asks: “This is a nice day, isn’t it Grandma?” about 50 times in ne outing….but he’s usually correct.
  1. My most LOVING moment is when the room is quiet and from across the room, James’ voice calls out: “I love you Grandma” Always nice.
  1. My most SATISFYING moments are making my grandson laugh! He thinks everything is funny, over and over again! Even my jokes!
  1. My PROUDEST moments are watching my daughter in action! I remember her as a teenager and at times, teenagers can be a bit self involved. I have watched my special needs grandson bring out qualities in my daughter that make me so proud! She is a mother now, 24/7 as the phrase goes. She is his advocate. She is loving and patient. Although at times my grandson is our greatest challenge, he is our gift from God!
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  1. Jaime
    November 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    What a truly sweet and heartfelt post – thanks for sharing!

  2. Sr. Mary Anne Sharron
    November 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Beautiful and loving! That’s what grandmothers and mothers are for!

  3. kathryn reilly
    November 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    So much fun to read. So much love. so beautiful. so lucky.
    kathryn

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