Happy Mother’s Day, especially to exceptional moms!

My mom is superbly exceptional. I know, I know – many children say this, especially during their cultural moments of recognition for maternal care. But my mom really is super damned special.

Regular readers of this blog know that it’s not always easy for me to get along with my sister. I’m often resentful of her medical needs taking precedence over my desires (and sometimes legitimate needs for parental assistance). It can’t have been easy to be our parents, especially when we were young and both needed so much. Help me with math homework? Home physical therapy exercises for Lily? Mediate when Lily’s fascination with ripping paper collided with my love of reading? (It was the last page! The very last page of Charlotte’s Web! I loved that story. And no, I haven’t quite given up my frustration with her. *grin* Although I do understand it, and it happened some twenty years ago, and I have forgiven Lily for this offense.) Being a parent to a child with special needs is just as drama-filled as being a parent, period. Sometimes more. Being a parent to a child with special needs and a child classified as gifted? Whooo, boy, yeah, that must’ve been tough!

But my mom did it, and still does it. Baking cookies with Lily! Helping me pick out a perfect birthday cake recipe for a friend! Letting us each talk on the phone whenever we need to! Some of this is surely due to her profession, and the patience and creativity required for it. But really, my mom is just the best. She did everything she could to help me be my own person. (Okay, Dad, too, but this is about Mom.)

The most heartbreaking thing for me is that she did all of this with so much love, grace, and patience, and for years struggled with undiagnosed multiple sclerosis. (She was officially diagnosed at the start of 1999, when I was in college.) Full time job. Cooked and cleaned. Was fun. Played the piano on holidays, the same songs over and over while Lily and I sang. Put up with each of us and our self-pity and medical care and needing of hugs. And managed to maintain a happy, healthy marriage and longtime friendships all the while.

So here’s to you, Mom! If I ever have my own kids, I can only hope to be half as good a parent as you’ve been. And when people tell me that I’m like you, it’s one of the best compliments they could ever give. Happy mother’s day!

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