One Mean Mother

In my lifetime I have been referred to as one mean mother by many people…including my own mom…because they did not understand.

When our family was blessed with the gift of Wil through adoption, we were told to never expect him to walk, talk or have measurable intelligence. Clearly they were wrong, however, Wil did not overcome the odds against him without a lot of hard work…and one mean mother pushing him along the way.

At age one year Wil was a broken baby who was the physical size of a three month old and developmentally a newborn. Actually, he was developmentally less than a new born because due to severe physical abuse and neglect, he had lost the ability to suck a bottle or cry. He had nine broken bones which had never been attended to by a physician. His feeding tube had been yanked from his body by ‘family’. His hair was falling out in clumps.

When not being beaten during his first year of life, Wil had been thrown into a dark corner, covered by a blanket and left to die. I cannot bear to tell you everything he endured. No doctor can logically explain how he survived.

After being hospitalized to stabilize his condition, Wil came to us drawn into a rigid fetal position. He made no sounds. He made no eye contact. He never moved any part of his body. He was dying from severe physical abuse, lack of nutrition and lack of love. While he would not make eye contact, I saw the beautiful child who lived behind those soulful blue eyes, and I wanted him to live. I knew he wanted to live.

So day by day, week after week, month after month the physical, speech and occupational therapists came into our home. The nurses came into our home to monitor Wil and teach us to care for him. We cautiously took Wil out into the world only for doctor’s appointments, hospital stays and numerous surgeries. And I became a meaner mother than I could have ever imagined possible.

Wil was loved beyond measure and lovingly cuddled. His every need was met to excess, yet in order for Wil to progress, I could not coddle him.

When Wil cried for something…I could not give it to him. He had to learn to make a sound other than crying to get what he wanted.

When my hand lovingly reached for his face and he recoiled in terror, I had to gently touch the face that did not want to be touched.

Later when he wanted to get from point A to point B, I had to watch him struggle, hear his cries and watch the little tears roll down his thin, pale cheeks.

When he grew older and said the words, “I can’t”…I had to tell him “you can” while watching him awkwardly maneuver new situations.

I had to be one mean mother. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was the best thing I could have done for Wil.

Last night as we tucked the boys into bed, prayers being said, oodles of hugs and kisses shared, I sat on the edge of Wil’s bed. He looked lovingly into my eyes, pulled me into his embrace and whispered into my ear…”I love you so, so much.”

I do not regret a single moment of being one mean mother.

Remember this happy ending each day you watch your child struggle…each time you want to help because it would be easier…each time you want to give up hope.

Life is filled with hope. Wil wants you to remember that. And so do I.

Wil would also have you know he likes cake, as evidenced by the icing on his face.

Melody can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Tuesday in addition to hosting Special Exposure Wednesday. You will also find her at Slurping Life sharing photos and a few words from her special life.

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