The Special Mother

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,

a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.


This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how these mothers 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 take notes in a giant ledger.


“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.”


“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”


Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles.


“Give her a handicapped child.”


The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”


“Exactly,” smiles God.


“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.


“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she’ll handle it.”


“I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of it’s own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”


“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”


The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”

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.”

“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.”

“Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

God smiles.

“No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”

God nods.

“If she can’t 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 doesn’t know 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 momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see–ignorance, cruelty, prejudice–and allow her to rise above them.

“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles.

“A mirror will suffice.”

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A Letter To My Dear Son

This is a beautiful and sad poem written by a mother whos son passed away at a tender age of only 20. I came across it sometime back and felt I needed to share it with you’ll. Its so sad,  

A Letter To My Dear Son
       
The hardest thing I thought I’d ever have to do
was go through labor and give birth to you…
But it wasn’t.

Then I thought…
The hardest thing I’d ever have to do
was to keep you from harm through the toddler years,
teach you right from wrong,
teach you to love others while showing you I loved you…
But it wasn’t.

Then I thought…
The hardest thing I’d ever have to do
was watch you leave me on your first day of school,
worrying about you,
hoping you’d be all right without me by your side,
reassuring you that I loved you…
But it wasn’t.

Then I thought…
The hardest thing I’d ever have to do
was get you through your younger years,
do all the right things for you,
spend enough time with you,
try to be your friend,
discipline you when I needed to,
worry about you and
never let you forget how very much I loved you…
But it wasn’t.

Then I thought…
The hardest thing I’d ever have to do
was watch you grow into a teen-ager,
help you make the right decisions,
trying to protect you, sometimes being tough on you,
while all along always trying to stay a friend to you,
hoping I was doing what I should for you,
worrying about you all the time,
reminding you how much I loved you…
But it wasn’t.

Then I thought…
The hardest thing I’d ever have to do
was watch you grow into a young man,
teaching you how to get along in the world by yourself,
reminding you that you are never really alone and
seeing you leave home to be on your own,
letting you know I’d always be there for you,
making sure you’d always remember how much you’re loved…
But it wasn’t.

I know what it was…
The hardest thing I ever had to do
was open the door to your room,
to have to see your body lying still,
wanting for you to smile at me and knowing you couldn’t,
wanting you to get up and talk to me, and tell me you were O.K.
But it didn’t happen.

The hardest thing I ever had to do was to live without you,
my times with you were over.

The hardest thing I ever had to do was say good-bye to you, my son,
though you were so young, only twenty,
I have so many memories of our times together and
I’ll never forget how much you changed my life,
how much you meant to me and how much I loved you.

Forever and Always,

Mom

For Every Mother

F O R     E V E R Y     M O T H E R 

This is for all the mothers who didn’t win Mother of the Year last year.

All the runners-up and all the wannabes. The mothers too tired to enter or too busy to care.

This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at soccer games Friday night instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see my goal?” they could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, saying, “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.”

This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night and can’t find their children.  (And the mothers in Iraq whose children died in bombings).

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see. And the for mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

For all the mothers of the victims of the Colorado shooting, and the mothers of the murderers. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just arrived safely home from school.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who don’t.

What makes a good mother? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?  Or is it heart?  Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying? 

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn’t.

This is for reading “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then reading it again, “just one more time.”

This is for all the mothers who aren’t perfect. Who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired 2-year-old who wants ice cream before dinner.

This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

For all the mothers who bite their lips- sometimes until they bleed- when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green.

This is for all the mothers who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won’t stop.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears- and tears- on their children’s graves.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers who sent their sons to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there,  only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up.  Right away.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation.  And mature mothers learning to let go.  For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. So hang in there. The world would be a terrible place without the love of mothers everywhere.  You make it a more civil, caring and safe place for the precious children in our world.