Thursday, April 11, 2013

a real life conversation...

nearly two weeks ago, while we were at STAR center, i found myself eavesdropping on one side of a phone conversation. harrison and jeremy were playing in the big gym while graham and i sat in the observation room. there was a blonde-haired, jetpack-wearing girl playing hide-n-seek with her therapist and mommy on one side of the gym while jer was catapulting our brown-haired, jetpack-wearing boy through the air on the other.

cell phones aren't allowed during therapy sessions but it was clear exceptions were made in this case. the mom excused herself from her daughter's play time to make a quick phone call. here is some of what i heard...

"we need to figure out what to do this afternoon"

"the tests showed significant issues so they need us to come back later today"

"cognitive problems"

"i know. i know. we can discuss it later"

"she really needs to regulate"

"no, i don't think that will work"

"probably best to head back to the hotel and just relax for a while"

"i can't expect her to deal with a restaurant right now. could you just pick up some lunch for us?"


"love you too"


i heard an exhale. a breath that surely did not bring cleansing. perhaps, though, it offered emotional stability; a way to keep the tears at bay. or maybe momentary clarity; a way to get back to the task at hand.

she got up, walked back into the gym and squatted down next to her tire-swinging daughter. as she turned her head to look at her little girl, i was able to read the expression on her face. i saw pain in her eyes. fear. the unknown. and i saw deep pools of love. that mama was so engaged, so focused, so in tune with her child.

what i saw next moved me immensely. face to face with her daughter, that incredible mom smiled so warmly, so brightly, so intensely. as if i had been staring at the sun, my eyes burned with tears and i had to look away.

a mother's bravery is astounding. a mother's resolve is extraordinary. a mother's ability to be exactly what her child needs is breathtakingly beautiful.

let's digest this real life conversation:
first, not everyone is fortunate to live so close to STAR center. people come from to do therapy here. it was clear this family had temporarily relocated to denver from out of town. that's stressful.

second, this mom just found out her daughter has significant cognitive issues. i don't know what that means exactly but i know it's no small thing. it hurts us when things aren't quite right with our kiddos. that's stressful.

third, her daughter also struggles with sensory issues. this mom has to think about how the simplest everyday occurrences will affect her daughter. they can't go out for lunch, even if that would be the easiest option, because her daughter needs to regulate. that's stressful.

i'm certain these few bullet points don't even begin to cover the storm within that mother's mind and heart that morning. and yet she dug deep. she managed to pull out just a little bit more - more strength? more hope? more love? more patience? more attention? more encouragement? more reassurance? - to give to her child.

more of all those things, i think.

more of herself. 

because that's what mothers do.

we give ourselves. more than we think we have within us to give.

and this particular mother did it in such a masterful way that i sat in awe and wept at the artistry.

since witnessing that moment i've had time to analyze why i was so deeply touched by this mommy's actions. while i do believe it's true that our ability, as mothers, to be what our children need is stunning, i've also come to realize this: all our children really need is for us to be ourselves.  

1 comment:

TutyFrutyJudy said...

This brought tears to my eyes too. I know so many mothers who work so hard and give so much of themselves in order for their children to thrive. There must be languages where the word for mother is synonymous with giving, it certainly should be in the English language.

Thank you for sharing her struggle, pain and triumph so beautifully.