My sister-in-law Nancy is an amazing mother to her daughter, Whitney, who suffered from a brain injury at the age of four months. The doctors did not give much hope on her survival but she lived. She lives by a mother’s pure love for her child.
The doctors said she would never talk but she communicates in a way her mother understands.
I am in awe of Nancy. She makes me want to be a better mother. I have also never met anyone with as much faith in God as Nancy. She praises Him for her daughter’s gift of life.
When you have a special needs daughter who is legally blind with poor hearing, your life is not considered normal. But Nancy and Whitney have created a life that is normal for them.
Did you know one in every 12 children in America is physically or mentally disabled? Mothers of disabled children earn a particularly special place on Mother’s Day, and disabled children sometimes need a little help in celebrating and expressing their love for their mother. And that’s where you and I can come in!
Nancy then received 21 gifts “from Whitney.” They were things my brother and I put together – everything from a hat-shaped cake, a vase with flowers, stuffed animal, sunglasses, jewelry, and sandals to a purse. It was like Christmas having Nancy surrounded with so many gifts!
With our help Whitney’s mother had a special day of appreciation and love. We felt she deserved so much more but Nancy does not think she is special. She is a mother doing what mothers do – love their children.
I’ve always liked the following explanation by one of my favorite authors of why certain women are selected to have special needs children. It’s a little long, but hang in there and read it to the end because the last line says it all.
The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck
Did you ever wonder how mothers of disabled children were chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over the earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“This one gets a daughter. The Patron saint will be Cecelia.”
“This one gets twins. The Patron saint will be Matthew.”
“This one gets a son. The Patron saint…..give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a disabled child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel!”
“But has she patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of sorrow and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps – “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally she won’t survive. Yes here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word.’ She will never consider any ‘step’ ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time she will be present at a miracle and will know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty and prejudice…and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side.”
“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air.
God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”