When my daughter Zoe was a toddler, she didn’t spend her days spreading out her toys and playing on our cool tile floor , or toddling around clutching her favorite doll with sticky juice hands like her big sister Olivia did.
Instead, Zoe preferred to cuddle for comfort. Her speech didn’t develop until late so I spent a lot of time trying to interpret her sound and movement, solicit a response, and get to know my little one, trying to discern what made her happy and what was making her hurt.
Zoe was 3 years old when she was finally diagnosed, when we learned she would never walk by herself. She was 4 when we learned she may eventually lose her vision, and when she was 5 she experienced a stroke like event- yet through it all, when she wasn’t sick, Zoe has been a pretty happy, smiling kid.
When I wrote the blog about the anonymous note left on my car window, I described who I was and the world that I live in. I wrote about some of the rough spots, and left out others.. ( like how I was at that damn grocery store to begin with, because we were in the midst of a plumbing emergency at home, and our local grocer had the milk we needed for dinner AND accessible restrooms for Zoe….) What I didn’t talk about when I told that story was my daughter Zoe, and what she is like.
Because even though I try really hard at this mothering thing, most Mom’s do- we’re engineered that way. It’s our kids that do the inspiring that fuels us.
Zoe was two and a half first time she walked . We placed a little- old- lady style walker behind her, wrapped her fingers around the handles and pointed across the room. She didn’t hesitate, she just smiled as if to say.. “ Finally!” as she glided 50 feet feet away from me , humming a little tune, like this was something she did every day.
That is how she meets almost every challenge she is presented with, head on and over achieving. She will try most any task, even though some of the things she does are simple things other kids take for granted and are oh… I don’t know.. 100 times harder for her to do.
When Zoe was little, she used to thank me for lifting her, carrying her, taking her to the bathroom.. helping her do the every day things she couldn’t do for herself. I told her to stop- because I didn’t want her to feel obligated, or feel these tasks were burdensome. As she got bigger and some of these these things became more challenging, I hid my grimaces and my grrrumphs , keeping a calm happy smile plastered on my face. I also learned to hide the look of fear on my face as she attempted turns at high speed in her walker, ran her power wheelchair at the highest speed setting or tested her own balance in precarious places. That’s what kids do- they make us proud, they test boundaries and they inspire us. This inspiration is what makes us “ Warrior” Moms, teaches us perspective, and keeps us going.
The personal stories so many commenters shared on the blog here and here were the most amazing. The notes of encouragement from other Mom’s who just get it, the decisive assurances that “ with awareness comes change”, the reminder that we all should learn to be kinder than necessary, because everyone is fighting some kind of battle. The simple show of support with the comforting words “ Hang in there, Mama” from Moms that know how hard it can be. The personal detailed accounts sharing what we all go through because somehow hearing these heart wrenching realities leave us feeling less alone.
And finally there was this comment, that kept it all in perspective and left me smiling “ What a beautiful post…. BUT I still want to smack the person who left you that note.”