Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women who play the role of mom! A very special Happy Mother’s Day to the moms of kids who are differently-abled. A role that only another mom of someone who is differently-abled truly understands. Today, I simply give you Erma Bombeck’s essay. For some reason, it always speaks to me. I think because I see myself in the essay. Not in the mom who doesn’t believe in God but in many of the other characteristics she describes. I am blessed to be Rachel’s Mom. Happy Day to all of you.
God Chooses A Mom For A Disabled Child 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 the 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.
“Rudlege, Carrie; twins; patron saint…give her Gerald. 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. “Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel”
“But has she patience?” Ask the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence. She’ll have to teach the child to live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But, Lord, I don’t think she even 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 can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t 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 ‘Momma’ 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 as few people ever see my creations.
“I will permit her to see clearly 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?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air.
God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”
Note: Some of you will recognize this essay and not like it. I know that this is not people first language nor is it necessarily politically correct. Please consider it was originally published in 1993. I do love Erma’s writings and it was written in another time. I hope you can put all of that aside and really think about what she is trying to communicate. Thanks to Erma for leaving so many jewels for us to ponder and for laughter!