Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Oldie but Goodie from Erma Bombeck

Please forgive some of the language used in this article. It was written many years ago and some of the words used are no longer used today to describe special needs children. That said, I think it's a beautiful tribute to the mothers of special needs children. My mother carried this article in her wallet for many, many years and seeing it again brings tears to my eyes. If you haven't read it before I hope you enjoy it. If you have read it before chances are it will be just as powerful to you now.
A Well Chosen Mother Has Special Qualities By Erma Bombeck Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint, Cecelia. Rudledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint...Give her Gerard. He is used to profanity." Finally He passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a handicapped child." The angel is curious, "Why this one, God? She is so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel." "But has she patience?" asks the angel. "I do not want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she will handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see the child I am going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world, and that is not going to be easy," said God. "But Lord, I do not even think she 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 cannot separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She does not realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says 'Mama' for the first time she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations. I will permit her to see clearly all the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, 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 she is here by my side." "And what about her patron saint?" asked the angel, his pen poised in mid-air. God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

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