Hello there Sunshine! Welcome to today's post, and Happy Mother's Day!
I am going to take a break from my reminiscences of the past year to talk about someone very special. Without this certain someone I would not be the person I am today. This is an "ode", or really just a thank you, to my Mother.
You see, when you're the mother of a child with a disability, life is very different compared to most. I don't think most people realize just how different it is. For starters, to expect that at any moment the doctors will let you hold your new baby girl, only to discover that she needs to be flown off to another hospital for immediate medical attention. To make the long trip by ambulance, wondering what was wrong with your little girl. To arrive at the hospital, only to see that your baby is hooked up to all these tubes and wires, with a medical team buzzing around her. To be told that she wouldn't survive past three weeks. To be asked if you wanted to just walk away while you still had the chance. To discover that your daughter had a condition that would challenge her the rest of her days. To wonder what her life would be like, and wonder what yours would be like too. This was only the beginning for my Mother.
She had to think of ways to explain why I couldn't do certain things, why I looked the way I did, why other kids were different from me. She had to wipe my tears when I was made fun of, or when I felt left out because I couldn't do something, or when I wondered why I was created this way. She was there to help me through the times when I was afraid. Afraid of the doctors, afraid of the tests, afraid of the scans, afraid of the word surgery. She had to make the painful decision of accepting a surgery that would allow me to sit in a wheelchair. Enduring those terrible times after surgery, when I screamed for three days straight. Those sleepless nights back at home because of the casts. The feeling of relief when they were removed, only to be reminded of the experience again because of the scars left on my body. And just when she thought it was over, the doctors suggested more surgeries, which left her asking "is it worth putting her through that?".
She was the one to encourage me not to be a victim. She taught me never to feel sorry for myself, to always look on the positive side, and to try new things. She was there for my victories, both large and small, like playing the piano, or teaching myself to write with a pencil. She accompanied me on many adventures, such as the Paralympics, and my trip to Ottawa to speak to the Senate. She was the first to tell me I could do something, even when I didn't think so at the time. When I'd do something that I thought was daring (but admittedly stupid), like launching my wheelchair off jumps at the skateboard park, or pulling my cousin behind me on rollerblades, she would be there shaking her head or giving me what I like to call the "death glare".
She continually fought for my rights to equality, especially through my high school years. The stress she went through to make sure I was treated the way I should was unimaginable. She spent hours on the phone, writing letters, and having meetings. She had to deal with the frustration and heart-ache of seeing me come home everyday in tears. She had to make the decision to pull me out of high school. In the many hours that I spent alone because of my online school studies, she would always make sure she spent time with me, whether in walking, reading, or just talking. When I wondered why I couldn't make friends, she'd be there to soothe me, or tell me that Jesus was my friend.
In my teen years, she dealt with both the normal and the not so normal. When I went through the stages of being insecure because of acne, she was the one to research and try every product that offered a solution. When I would just randomly burst into tears because I was PMSing, she would be there to listen to my ridiculous reasons why, and hug me while suppressing her laughter. "He said I love you Gracie in that movie Mom! WHEN WILL SOMEONE SAY THAT TO ME!!!???"
She endures my morning grumps... The least said about that the better... When my life took a surprising and painful turn in discovering the true condition of my spine, hearing what the surgery would help with and what it would take away, and enduring the knowledge of what would happen if I refused, she was there. She supported my decision to refuse the surgery, and the hardships I've been through because of it.
When I said I wanted to start my own sit ski society... Well, if she thought it was a bad idea, she never let on... She celebrated with me when plans fell in place, and dealt with my outbursts of tears when something didn't work out. When I would ask her why I was trying to do this, or when I declared I was in WAY over my head, she would always remind me to trust in God. Today she watches myself and the other students in Fernie Adaptive ski our beautiful mountains, and she says because of that she is very proud. I have dragged her with me for many of my crazy ideas, and she has supported my every whim.
To conclude... For your strength. For your perseverance. For your hope. For your faith. For your encouragement. For your scolding. For your sacrifice. For your endurance. For your friendship. For your guidance. Your teaching, your smiles, and even your death glare. For your love, and for your prayers that helped me through my hardships. For everything that I am and everything I will be. And for the many other fors... Thank you Mom!