being a “special” mom

someone posted a really sweet piece for mothers… you know, one of those emails making the rounds….

I really liked that piece, it brought tears to my eyes… but the first thing I noticed was that there was NO mention of mothers with “special” kids. I commented on that fact and the poster used parts of my comments to append the piece (the original was written anonymously) and suggested I send it out and hopefully it would “replace” the original. I really appreciate her doing that.

As usual, it got me thinking… mothers of every stripe are all tied together… we all know this… yet being the mother of a “special” child often makes a mother feel like an outsider… I think part of this is because our stories are always different… when my second son tells me a story and uses correct pronouns I want to share this feat with the world, yet I’d have to explain what makes this such an enormous task for my nine-year-old. When my son has a tantrum, I want to bitch to anyone who will listen but I’d have to explain how different his tantrums are for his age.

All the things that are “normal” for a “special” child become different in perspective. All the things that are unique to (your) “special” child become typical in perspective. The problem, the thing that makes you feel so alienated is that it becomes impossible to explain, it becomes tiresome to explain, it becomes even more alienating.

Then I finally open my mouth and speak… and I am reminded once again that mothers accept easily what the rest of the world cannot fathom. I don’t always have to explain it, I just have to say it.


What I am thinking about now is the tie between my (step – but from now on I can just call her my) mother and myself. I remember living through years of my mother’s guilt and anger and resentment because her second son was born profoundly disabled. I always knew that this was a possibility for me, and I swore that I would buck up better than she had. I never looked down on her for all her tears and screams: she and I are different emotionally.

Now, with my son, I remember my mother’s trials and can be nothing but thankful.

My son can say “I love you mommy”

My mother never got that.

For all the problems now, and the problems down the road, my son knows who I am and loves me… that alone keeps me from cursing the universe that allowed him his disability.

No matter how angry I get, no matter how desparate I get, no matter how fed up I get, I can always be thankful that he still can be my boy and know it.

Some mothers don’t even get that and to them I say:

I’m sorry.
Whatever you choose to do, whatever works for you, whatever gets you through this, know that there are mothers who know what you have to live through. Open up and share your experience because it really does help. People can support you more than you realize if you just give them a chance.
Even if your child can’t say it, can’t even think it, you know in your heart of heart that s/he feels it… loving your mother comes first and never really goes away. Know that your child does love you in their own way.
I don’t know you, but I want you to know that I love you.


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