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It's Not Your Mother's Mother's Day. A Letter to My Disabled Child

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To my children on Mother's Day:

You did not ask to be born. You did not ask to walk this earth and you certainly did not create your own realities and struggles....at least not yet. You did not get to choose me as a mother. I can guide you in ways that I think will ease your journey but ultimately your external successes and failures will be YOUR successes and failures. You get to have those on your own and I will rejoice and celebrate and swell with pride as if I created those monumental moments but I do not get to take credit for those. I will feel guilt or shame or sadness in your failings or perhaps I will distance myself from them for those same reasons, but ultimately I don't get to take credit for those either. Whatever respect or love you have for me through each stage of your lives is created, taught and fueled by me and while those things feel like an expectation when it comes to a mother, in every other situation those things are earned....I will assure you it is the same in our case. It is not my expectation that you celebrate me today. If anything, the onus is on me to celebrate you. You made me a mother and by proxy after 35 years I was given the gift of the ability to feel love unconditionally. I don't choose to love you.....I have no choice. What I do with that part is up to me. You do not owe me for being attentive to your needs, by making you a priority. That is my contract with you regardless of circumstance.

So on this Mother's Day, I celebrate you both. The loves of my life. May you:

--Never feel as if your existence was a burden to me.

--Always feel like a joyful priority, even when I have forgotten to appreciate that myself

--Recognize that you are separate from me....that my sadness is not your sadness...my expectations should not be your expectations, my disappointments are not your disappointments. If I am doing this right, I will not feel like your obligation.

--Know that in my humanity the above might not feel that way because nothing makes me feel more joy than your joy....nothing makes me feel more worry than your worry...and unfortunately there is not much I can to about that.

--Never feel less because I acknowledge your differences.

--Always feel safe in telling me your thoughts and ideas no matter what.

--Know that when I don't understand your needs that you may not be able to change that but you can ask me for more patience

--Always feel the love and respect I have for you and I hope that I have done my job in teaching you how to have the wisdom to distinguish and create healthy distance as you grow when others are not treating you with love and respect who should be. Including me.

--Know that if I am feeling selfish or if I cannot manage something when it comes to you I will protect you from that by being honest so you never misunderstand my intentions.

If I am raising you right, for me every day should feel like the holiday we are told is Mother's Day. But for today, I celebrate and thank you for being given the privilege of being your Mom. Now let's get to the Zoo.

xoxox

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